20 burnt bodies of suspected 'zama-zamas' found in Orkney

Police on Wednesday said the bodies, all with severe burn wounds and wrapped in plastic bag, were found on 15 and 16 June.

Police in Orkney, near Klerksdorp, made a shocking discovery after the bodies of 20 unidentified men suspected to be illegal miners were found over two days. Picture: SAPS.

JOHANNESBURG - Police in Orkney, near Klerksdorp, made a shocking discovery after the bodies of 20 unidentified men suspected to be illegal miners - also known as zama-zamas - were found over two days.

Police on Wednesday said the bodies, all with severe burn wounds and wrapped in plastic bags, were found on 15 and 16 June.

The first five decomposed bodies were found at approximately 7pm on Tuesday outside an old and unused mine shaft ventilation in Lawrence Park.

Fourteen more were located on Wednesday along Ariston Road near the railway line in Orkney. While still processing the scene, the police received information that another body was discovered where the initial five bodies were found, thus bringing a total number to 20.

The zama-zamas were suspected to have been operating in obsolete shafts in Orkney and Stilfontein.

Police said as part of investigations, post-mortems will be conducted to determine a cause of death.

"Investigation into the matter continues and it includes the possibility of linking the incident with the video that was circulated on social media platforms wherein a man calling himself “Mafifi” was seen pleading for assistance following an apparent smoke inhalation occurrence at shaft number six," police said.

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