By Owen Khamula
Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers continue guarding Namizimu Forest reserve in Makanjira, Mangochi after all illegal miners were either chased away or arrested for unlawful mining of precious stones.
MDF spokesperson, Paul Chiphwanya,took a group of journalists to the forest, weeks after peace returned after the arrest of 133 illegal miners in a violent operation.
The journalists found that there were no illegal miners but there was still heavy presence of the soldiers in the forest and the whole area.
“The soldiers are still here to ensure that no illegal miner returns here. They will leave the place after they are assured that the illegal miners have gone for good,” he said.
The government sent the soldiers after complaints from traditional leaders in the area that the illegal miners did not only pose a security risk but promoted prostitution.
The communities accused the illegal miners of depleting natural resources in the area.
Traditional leader, Saiti Mzunga,has since asked the government to identify serious investors to start mining the prescious stones.
The arrested illegal miners include a Turkish, a Congolese, 43 Tanzanians, some Mozambicans as well as 93 Malawians who are on full remand at Zomba prison.