Gold smuggling on the rise

Matsiloje old gold mine
Matsiloje old gold mine

FRANCISTOWN: Cases of the illegal gold mining and smuggling in Botswana are on an upward trend.

Old disused gold mines in Francistown, Matsiloje and surrounding areas are where most people, particularly Zimbabweans are caught and hauled before the Magistrate’s Courts to answer to charges of unlawful gold mining. Hardly a week passes before a Zimbabwean appears in court in relation to allegations of mining gold illegally.

The cases are so widespread such that even minors aged 17 are ensnared in some of the cases. Some people found guilty of illegal gold smuggling decry poor economic conditions in Zimbabwe as one of the pull factors that lead them to Botswana to illegally mine and smuggle gold. Most of these cases are intertwined with a charge of entering Botswana using ungazetted points of entry.

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