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South African police arrest 77 illegal miners

The South African police on Tuesday reported that they have arrested 77 illegal miners from April 14 to 18 in Orkney, North West Province for mining without a license.

The police said a multi-disciplinary team of police and a mining rescue team launched a crackdown on illegal miners and arrested some underground after they called for help when some of them were stuck underground.

North West Province police spokesperson Sabata Mokgwabone said “the operation follows a request to the mine management by illegal miners to be assisted to get out of the mine shaft as they were starving.

“During the operation which was conducted at Shaft no. 5, in Orkney, four decomposed bodies were brought up by the illegal miners on April 15, 2022.

“Of the 77 arrested illegal miners who were all medically examined, 60 are from Lesotho, 13 from Mozambique and four are Zimbabwean nationals. Meanwhile, a formal identification process of the four bodies was underway.’’

Mokgwabone said the arrested illegal miners will appear in court on Tuesday facing charges of trespassing, illegal mining and contravention of the Immigration Act.

Illegal foreigners from neighboring countries facing economic challenges have been flocking into South Africa in search of greener pastures. Some engage in crime while some go to abandoned mines to do illegal mining. 


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