AT least 72 illegal panners have been arrested in Chimanimani as law enforcement agents intensify efforts to bring sanity to the resort area following a recent diamond rush.
The joint operation between the police and Zimbabwe National Army, code-named: ‘Operation Gweja Dzoka Kumba’ saw 16 vehicles that were involved in illegal activities being impounded at Charleswood Estate.
Deputy Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Wisemen Chinyoka, confirmed the development and said law enforcement agents are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that sanity prevails in Chimanimani.
“72 people were arrested in connection with illegal panning of diamonds at Charleswood in Chimanimani.
‘‘This followed a diamond rush after the discovery of alluvial diamonds in the area on August 14.
“Deployments started on September 6 to clear illegal panners who had set base at Mr Brian Jerekete’s farm where the diamonds were discovered. The operation managed to arrest 72 people and 49 of them were made to pay fines. The others appeared in court facing various charges,” he said.
Assistant Inspector Chinyoka added that the operation also recovered dangerous weapons as well as some precious stones.
“Police arrested two individuals for possessing pistols. We recovered a CZ pistol with eight rounds, a Star pistol with 14 rounds of ammunition. Licences of the two pistols had expired.
“Shovels, crossbars and a knife were also recovered,” he added.