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Arrest resisted

Police officers from Allanridge and of Welkom’s Public Order Policing Unit came under attack on Friday (08/03) when they confronted some 50 zama-zamas who were attempting to evade arrest by standing in the middle of a large body of water.

The police were mobilised to the massive “Stinkpan” next to Nyakallong, Allanridge, into which illegal miners had fled.

Despite the large police presence on the banks of the dam, and boats of the police’s Diving Unit in the dam, the illegal miners refused to come out.

The police tried to nego­tiate with the people in the water, but to no avail.

“The police then used smoke and stun grenades in an attempt to get the men out of the dam. The illegal miners became violent, encircled the police boats and attacked the police officers with corrugated iron sheets and stones. They tried to sink the boats using spades.

“The police officers fired reduced rubber rounds at the illegal miners in an attempt to escape from the circle of attackers,” says Capt. Stephen Thakeng of Corporate Communication of the police in Welkom.

The stand-off came to an end and the suspects left the dam with their hands raised. They were all arrested. Dangerous weapons were confiscated.

Two police officers sustained minor injuries.

Most of the suspects are Lesotho nationals. Members of the police in Allanridge and Welkom and mine security managed to arrest an additional 21 people suspected of being illegal miners, which brings the total of men arrested for illegal mining to 71.

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