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Armed sand poachers invade Byo

BULAWAYO residents’ associations have called on government to deploy armed police to stop sand poaching activities in most residential areas.

The residents’ associations said sand poachers were leaving pits that posed a danger to children.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said sand poachers were posing a serious environmental damage.

“Government should deploy armed police officers to protect the land. City council will not be able to win this fight. Government must step in to assist,” he said.

“The residents are the culprits. They are very selfish because they do not think of the future whenever they engage in such illegal activities. They ignore the dangers that sand poaching has inflicted on their communities. Residents behave recklessly when it comes to this issue.”

Sibindi said sand poachers were becoming daring by the day as they carried out their illegal activities armed and at times attacked rangers.

Bulawayo United Residents Association chairperson Winos Dube said residents should discourage sand poaching activities and report offenders to responsible authorities.

“We continue to discourage such activities. Areas with sand must be guarded jealously by the relevant authorities,” Dube said.

Early this year, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) began reclaiming the city’s “pits of death” following an outcry from residents and human rights activists, who said children were

This was after two people recently drowned in disused pits in Pelandaba West suburb.

The pits, which have claimed many lives, are the creation of sand poachers. Council sometimes deploys its equipment on site to fill up the pits.

The Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) recently petitioned the Environmental Management Agency to rein in BCC over disused open pits in residential areas that have become death traps.

Some of the pits were reportedly left open by council employees after extracting sand for road construction. (News  Day)

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