South African authorities found 20 unidentified male bodies this week in North West Province, police said on Wednesday.
“All the deceased are suspected to be illegal miners, commonly known as ‘zama zamas,’ operating in obsolete shafts in Orkney and Stilfontein. The deceased suffered severe body burns,” North West police spokesperson Sabata Mokgwabone said.
Six bodies were found outside an old mine shaft ventilation in Lawrence Park, and the other 14 were found along Ariston road, near a railway line in the same district.
“Post-mortems will be conducted to determine a cause of death for these men whose bodies were found wrapped in white plastic bags,” Mokgwabone said.
Authorities will investigate whether the deaths are linked to a video circulating on social media of a man pleading for help after inhaling smoke at a mine shaft, he said.
There are many illegal miners in South Africa who come from other African countries like Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi. Killings were reported between different groups of illegal miners over control of mines. Enditem