Malawi Police in Lilongwe on Tuesday closed an illegal mine at Lumwila village in Nathenje area.
A visit on Tuesday to the so called mine which locals call “Kansolole” found nobody but police officers at the scene.
In an Interview with one of the locals, Eunice Stafford expressed worry on the closure of the mine which she said was the lifeline of the village since they harvested nothing in the fields last season.
“We have had hunger all this year due to shortage of rain and this mine has been our lifeline since May this year,” she told Mana.
Stafford who described the incident on Tuesday as unfortunate said the community woke up in the morning as usual ready to go to the mine site, but they saw smoke in the air.
She said when some of them went close to the mine they met police officers who prevented them from undertaking any activity at the site.
All stalls which were used as shelters for buyers, restaurants, kitchens at the site were torched.
Worse to the closure, Stafford said some men in the village including her husband and brother in-law were arrested and were detained at Lilongwe Police Station.
Stafford also alleged that the Police went into people’s houses beating them up. One allegedly beaten was Zachariah Chimkwende from Dedza who came to the area in search of gold.
Zachariah in an interview with Mana said the police beat him up when he went to the site to collect his tools for mining (pick and shovel).
Chimkwende said the police beat him up because he could no run when ordered to. He said that he could not run because he has an injury on his leg.
National Police Publicist, James Kadadzera confirmed the closure of the illegal mine and arrest of the illegal miners whose number and other details were not readily available on the day.
On the allegations that Police beat people up at the site, Kadadzera could not confirm that but said the people were free to make an official complaint to Professional Standards Unit at their nearest Police.
Other illegal mines closed are in Mangochi, Blantyre and Lilongwe. It is believed that there are more sites across the country people think have mineral deposits.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :