The government has warned illegal settlers who continue to occupy areas reserved for grazing or state land to vacate before the authorities pounce on them.

The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Dr Douglas Mombeshora says an assessment has been carried out in all districts across the country and a database of how many people are settled on each farm is now in place.

Minister Mombeshora said it was noted that there is an increase in the demand for land, especially on A1 farms.

He, however, warned that any person occupying rural land without an official temporary permit issued by the district lands committee, an offer letter or permission from the relevant ministry is deemed an illegal settler.

Dr Mombeshora added people and communities should respect lay out maps that clearly demarcate residential areas, arable and grazing areas as laid out in the settler emplacement plan.

Last year, the government gave the illegal settlers an ultimatum to vacate or face eviction by 16 September 2016, but the majority of the settlers did not heed the warning.