INSPECTOR General of Police Lemmy Kajoba has warned youths on the Copperbelt Province fond of conducting illegal mining activities in the name of ‘jerabos’ to desist from doing that, saying he will not tolerate such criminal acts.

In a statement, Friday, Kajoba expressed concern over the growing tendency of criminality amongst youths who were raiding and ransacking mining areas in the name of caderism.

“We have observed with concern the growing tendency of criminality amongst youths who are raiding and ransacking mining areas with impunity in the name of caderism with no due regard to the law. Yesterday, Thursday 16th December, 2021, Mufulira district Kantanshi police received a report of criminal trespass to the effect that two male juvenile suspects aged 17 years and 15 years both of Mufulira district who were in the company of an unknown number of other criminals forcefully entered the sinkhole, a restricted area of Mopani Copper Mine where they conducted illegal mining activities,” he said.

Kajoba warned that he would not tolerate such criminal acts as long as he remains the inspector general of police.

“When confronted by police, the group became unruly and began attacking the police officers. This prompted officers to fire warning shots but the group became even more violent and continued charging towards officers. In the process, the above named two (2) suspects were shot at and sustained bullet wounds on their right legs. The two have been admitted to Ronald Ross hospital. As police, this must come to an end as the criminal behavior has no place in this new dawn government. As long as I remain the inspector general of police, I will not tolerate such criminal acts,” he said.

“The tendency of undertaking illegalities in the name of ‘jerabos’ must come to an end and will not be tolerated because this is criminality. There is a need for the youths and members of the public in general to respect people’s property because it is a serious criminal offence to ransack legally established property owned by people.”

Kajoba said he was fully aware that the youths were being used as fronts by those with the financial muscle to interfere with other people’s businesses.

“Illegal mining activities should not be taken as a new normal and as such, those who have a strong urge to undertake mining activities are advised to follow normal channels by legalizing their business ventures. I wish to sound a strong warning that whoever chooses to take the path of perpetrating this crime trend will be dealt with sternly with the full weight of justice,” he said.

“I am fully aware that these young men are being used as fronts by those with the financial muscle to interfere with other people’s businesses. However, police are critically investigating this matter and will soon clump down on the suspects as this trend amounts to conspiracy to commit a crime. If found wanting, they will be charged with appropriate offenses.”

He said his command was geared to ensure that perpetrators of illegal mining activities were brought to book

“My command will not tolerate a safe haven for criminal minded people to continue committing crime in the guise of caderism. We are more than geared to bring the perpetrators to book. We will deal with anyone who dares with the police firmly but fairly regardless of their status in society. As a preventive measure, I have directed the Copperbelt police command to deploy more officers to beef up the current manpower so as to enhance security in the affected mining area,” said Kajoba.