South African Police Command have arrested four people in connection with the massacre of 14 illegal Zimbabwean miners on Gauteng’s East Rand earlier this month. The 14 bodies were found in separate shootings around illegal mine shafts in the Benoni area last week‚ laid out in particular patterns.
On Sunday six were found along a railway line in Benoni. The rest were found on Monday on the banks of a nearby stream. They are believed to have been killed elsewhere before they were dumped. The area has become the epicentre of a battle between gangs for control of tons of precious metal in disused mine shafts.
In an briefing on Tuesday evening‚ acting national police commissioner‚ Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane‚ revealed that four men – all of them Lesotho nationals – had been arrested. He said that three of those who were arrested were caught in Lesotho while one was caught in South Africa.
“Several firearms‚ which we suspect may have been used in the killings‚ have been recovered with those who were arrested in Lesotho. We are working with our Interpol counterparts to have them brought back to South Africa along with the weapons.
“The weapons will be subjected to ballistic testing.” Phahlane said all of those killed in the massacre were Lesotho nationals. He said the men would be charged with murder and would appear in court soon.
Phahlane called on anyone with additional information which could lead to further arrests to contact the police.
“We are in need of our communities’ assistance.”