Five illegal miners found themselves in the hands of the law when police discovered them in the dense bushes of Matsiloje Old Mines on Sunday morning, equipped with mining tools.
The group, aged between 18 and 34- Lucky Ndlovu, Honest Ndebele, Prince Bebhe, Bernard Moyo, and Kholwani Dube, all hailing from Lupane, Zimbabwe- were apprehended with a hammer, 6 chisels, and 2 pickaxes around 1000 hours.
Engaged in gold mining, the men faced further complications as it was revealed during interrogation that they were illegal immigrants who had crossed the border in pursuit of gold but were unlucky in their endeavor.
Appearing disheveled in clothes soaked with soil, the men were brought before the Francistown Magistrate Court on Tuesday.
They all pleaded guilty to charges of illegal mining and illegally entering the country.
During their plea for leniency, Ndlovu informed the court that he is the primary caregiver for his family since his father had passed away.
Expressing distress, Bebhe, visibly upset, stated, “I wonder how I will let her know that I am in prison.”
The other accused echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing their responsibility for supporting their families back home.
Despite their pleas, the court sentenced them to one year for illegal mining and another year for entering Botswana illegally.
The sentences were backdated to the time of their incarceration on Sunday, running consecutively.