Zimbabwe police said Thursday they had arrested two So uth African mining executives from a controversial diamond mine for suspected smuggling.
The two, Komilan Packirisamy and Viyandrakumar Naidoo, are directors of a South African mining company which is in a joint diamond mining venture with a Zimbabwean government firm.
The companies are developing the huge Chiadzwa diamond deposits in the east of t he country, which the international diamond watchdog, the Kimberley Process, wanted to shut down last year over widespread s muggling and reports of killings of illegal miners by security forces.
The Kimberley Process only spared Zimbabwe after the authorities agreed to a ser ies of tough measures, including withdrawal of security forces from the mines, start of formal mining and a clampdown on smuggl ing by top officials.
The government then engaged two South African companies to partner state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation to mine diamonds at Chiadzwa, but reports of smuggling have persisted.
Police said the two South African company directors were nabbed at a roadblock f rom the area with unspecified quantities of diamonds concealed in their car.
They said they had been tipped off by mine employees.
Smuggling of diamonds and other precious minerals such as gold is widespread in Zimbabwe, and much of the vice involves top government officials.