The artisanal miners who took it upon themselves to “rescue” fellow miners trapped in a collapsed mine in Chegutu are reported to have reached to the remaining bodies but are now demanding US$250 for each of the bodies before they are brought to surface.
Goverment called off the rescue mission after over five weeks of digging claiming that it was getting dangerous and very expensive to continue with the mission.
The goverment recommendation was to shutdown the shaft and bury off the trapped miners. The artisinal miners volunteered to rescue their collegues two months after the accident. Two bodies have since been brought to surface and families have buried them.
The informal rescue team is reported to have been angered by the families who went on to bury the bodies without paying anything to them for their efforts. They have since opted to hold the remaining bodies at ransom.
Task Mine Syndicate (Pvt) Limited chairman, Timothy Masviba told media of the latest development.
“The mission to find the three artisanal miners is still on. The challenge we have is of trying to mobilise the US$250 per body that the rescuers are demanding from us and the victims’ families,” said Masviba.
“We therefore need in excess of US$750 as the rescuers need food to continue with the search for the bodies.”
It is now almost 60 days since the accident happened at the gold-rich mine situated on the outskirts of Chegutu.
The incident has exposed the country’s lack of disaster preparedness, with the ill-equipped Civil Protection Unit (CPU) and other State agencies having abandoned the rescue mission on 2 October.
The five artisanal miners were 8 September trapped after a 110-metre mine shaft they were working in collapsed.
They were identified as Crynos Nyamukanga (44), Munashe Nyamukanga (17), Shingai Gwatidzo (20), Costantino Dzinoreva (47) and Charles Mutume (31).