LIBERATION WAR REMAINS FOUND IN MINE SHAFT
Human remains believed to belong to liberation war fighters have been discovered by artisanal miners in an abandoned 32-metre- deep copper mineshaft in Odzi, Manicaland.
The human remains were found wrapped in plastic, which are said to have been sprinkled with acid before they were thrown into the mineshaft.
Germans were said to have undertaken mining activities in the area before the liberation war.
When The Herald visited the place in Chiwere, Odzi, villagers were busy helping members of the Fallen Heroes of Zimbabwe Trust (FHZT) to exhume the remains from the mineshaft.
Fallen Heroes of Zimbabwe Trust chairperson Mr Anyway Chinyani said although they could not quantify the remains, indications were that there was a large number of people who were thrown into the shaft.
“I went down the shaft and we discovered that there a number of people who were thrown into the mineshaft,” he said. “We managed to exhume a few, but indications are that there are many more.”
“We discovered that they were wrapped in groups of four or five and then sprinkled with acid before being thrown into the mining shafts,” he said. “We believe some of them were chimbwidos and mujibhas and they were still at tender ages as they were caught while trying to cross into Mozambique.”
Mr Chinyani appealed for assistance to exhume the bodies.
“As the Trust, we have challenges in the tools to use,” he said. “There are certain things that we need for us to exhume bodies from these shafts. We are sometimes faced with transport challenges and there are many other things that are needed for reburial of these bodies.”
Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Cde Monica Mutsvangwa, aherself a veteran of the armed struggle, said the discovery of the remains showed that there was a lot which needed to be done regarding the healing of wounds arising from the liberation struggle.
“This shows us that the healing, which was supposed to have been done starting 1980 to free people to express and open up on what happened during the war liberation, was not yet over,” she said.
“It does not mean we do not have people who are still living today who know areas or shafts where comrades, chimbwidos and mujibhas were dumped during the war.
“As Zimbabweans, even from the explanation on how these remains were found, it shows God and the land’s ancestors will not rest until the healing is done.”
Minister Mutsvangwa called for unity and respect for freedom fighters that died during the war.
She donated some clothing and promised to continue supporting those undertaking the exhumation process.
Zanu-PF Mutare Central constituency aspiring candidate Cde Nancy Saungweme, a former fredom fighter, also assisted with foodstuffs.