RAPAPORT… Diamond digging and smuggling get more press attention in Zimbabwe during the week ending December 22, 2006. Press reports conclude at least five diggers per day have been arrested on average during the month, but 13 diggers were arrested December 19 in Chiadzwa, Marange, and 24 miners were arrested inside abandoned shafts December 20.
World News Connection reports most of those arrested were elderly women and children. The news organization reported that non-residents Stelio Matavel, 24, of Mozambique; Sung Hyun Kim, 29, of South Korea, Ibrahim Elquraishi, 39, of Belgium, have been held for possession of rough.
Police are conducting more thorough body searches, and have also reported finding rough hidden in food containers, traveling bags, and mixed-in with candy.
Depending upon which law enforcement division is asked, it appears some officers are permitting diamond mining under cover of darkness in exchange for a cut of profits according to The Harare Herald.
“We have a constitutional duty to guard the area not to make personal fortune. We are tougher on police who indulge in such illegal activities than the locals because we will charge them under the Police Act, then hand them over to the court for prosecution.
“But the public should not lose confidence in us because it is not all the officers who are corrupt,” police commissioner Obert Benge told the Herald.