POLICE in Mkushi have arrested and detained seven foreigners of Asian origin for allegedly illegally mining manganese in the area, district commissioner Luke Mwamba has said.
Mr Mwamba said yesterday that the seven are detained at Mkushi Central Police Station.
He said some village headmen were allegedly aiding the suspects to illegally mine manganese in Mkushi North and Luano districts.
“Police are holding seven foreigners of Asian origin who I personally stopped from conducting illegal mining activities. However, as Government, we have put in place measures to protect our minerals from exploitation,” Mr Mwamba said.
He warned that illegal miners in Mkushi will face the wrath of the law.
Mr Mwamba said the illegal miners who initially claimed ownership of pieces of land on which they were allegedly conducting illegal mining operations failed to provide mining licences from the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development.
“I have issued a stern warning to our local people, including village headmen to desist from allowing foreigners to engage in criminal activities,” Mr Mwamba said.
He urged the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development to employ more inspectors to enhance efficiency in monitoring and protection of mineral wealth.
Meanwhile, Chief Mboroma of Luano district has commended Government for strengthening security in his chiefdom.
Chief Mboroma said increased police presence in Luano district has helped prevent indiscriminate cutting down of mkula trees.
“I wish to thank President Sata and his administration for taking mass development in Luano district. I want to urge Government to also provide security checks in many areas that have been besieged by foreign illegal miners,” Chief Mboroma said.
Zambia Daily Mail