Mpofu told Radio Vop on Friday that the remains were uncovered by workers who were clearing the old shaft in preparation for fresh mining operations.The Minister had earlier on said the remains belonged to villagers who were killed by Rhodesian forces during the struggle for independence in the 70s.
However some villagers who live near the mining site disputed Mpofu,s statement saying there were no records of people killed by the colonial Rhodesian forces in the area and their bodies thrown into disused mine shafts.
“ The only soldiers who killed people and threw them into disused shafts were the Five Brigade, ” said villager Moses Moyo who says he was in the area during the war and after independence.Moyo said the names of people who were killed and thrown into disused shafts in Gwanda were known to the families and the community.
“ I will give you more information once I get a full report from the workers and officials of the mine, ” Mpofu told Radio Vop.According to villagers and survivors of the genocide in Matabeleland, the Five Brigade rounded up thousands of villagers and Zapu officials between 1983 and 1985 and detained them at Bhalagwe Camp in Kezi.
At night unlucky villagers were taken by soldiers and thrown into disused mine shafts around Gwanda and Kezi.Some of the victims were thrown into the shafts alive and died a painful death.President Robert Mugabe later said he regretted the massacres but have not formally apologised to families of the dead.
He said the killings were an “ act of madness ”by his government.