The remains of at least 13 people who were shot and killed by the Fifth Brigade during the Gukurahundi era in Chief Mabhikwa’s area of Lupane and buried in shallow mass graves are being dug up by wild animals as a result of failure by villagers and the government to accord the victims decent reburials, NewsDay can reveal.
The 13 are said to have been employed by the Forestry Commission when they were massacred.
NewsDay visited Lupane this week to investigate the developments and got it from reliable sources that members of the Fifth Brigade patrolling the area indiscriminately opened fire at the 13 in front of their families.
No explanation was given for the killing.
Headman Sikhonzi Nyathi of Mafa Forester Village under Chief Mabhikwa, a few kilometres outside Lupane district, told NewsDay that the remains of the murdered people had not been accorded proper burial because there was no money to do that.
“The first to be gunned down were nine forestry workers,” said Nyathi. “They were shot for no reason. After that, we were told to bury them in
shallow graves and their remains have remained there since.”
He said the soldiers ordered the villagers to bury the nine bodies in one grave before they went on to indiscriminately shoot at four others.
“There was nothing that the villagers could do to resist the orders as they also risked being shot,” Nyathi said.
“The villagers carried out the orders and buried them in one grave.
“It was more of just putting them in the dug-up pits and covering them with sand than burying them,” he said.
While the community was still shocked by the incident, the soldiers allegedly summoned all the villagers to another site where they ordered them
to watch and learn a lesson on how people who resisted orders were dealt with.
Nyathi said families, including children, watched as bullets from AK rifles riddled the other four employees.