Min­ers dig up more skele­tons

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - MUR­RAY SWART STAFF REPORTER

WHILE yes­ter­day’s dis­cov­ery by ar­ti­sanal min­ers of two more shal­low graves was dis­rup­tive to dayto-day op­er­a­tions, de­ter­min­ing who the de­ceased were and how they died is more im­por­tant than dig­ging for di­a­monds ac­cord­ing to the chair­per­son of the Kim­ber­ley Ar­ti­sanal Minework­ers (KAMW), Lucky Seekoei.

The skele­tal re­mains were un­cov­ered at around 11am yes­ter­day by an ar­ti­sanal miner, who was pro­cess­ing the floors near Ke­nil­worth when he no­ticed some­thing un­usual.

“When I first no­ticed the bones I was not en­tirely sure what to make of it and I kept dig­ging to see what ex­actly had been buried,” said the miner on the scene yes­ter­day.

“The hole was not nearly deep enough for this to have been a proper grave, so I got quite a fright when I re­alised that I had un­earthed hu­man bones.

“I don’t know how these peo­ple died, nor who buried them there, but this was al­ways De Beers’ ground so some­one from that com­pany must have had some­thing to do with it.”

Yes­ter­day’s dis­cov­ery brings the num­ber of shal­low graves un­cov­ered by the ar­ti­sanal min­ers in less than a fort­night to four.

The first was found by work­ers near the Sa­maria Road op­er­a­tions on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 20, while an­other was un­earthed in West End on Her­itage Day.

Seekoei said that while these finds proved dis­rup­tive to their min­ing op­er­a­tions, de­ter­min­ing the iden­tity of the de­ceased and the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing their deaths were of the ut­most im­por­tance.

“When­ever a dis­cov­ery like this is made, we have to stop im­me­di­ately,” Seekoei ex­plained yes­ter­day. “It is a dis­rup­tion to have our op­er­a­tions ground to a halt, but un­der these cir­cum­stances we re­ally don’t mind.

“Find­ing a shal­low grave is a per­fectly good rea­son to put work on hold as ev­ery skele­ton has a story to tell.

“It is cru­cial that we al­low the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties to con­clude their in­ves­ti­ga­tions and we are will­ing to wait for the re­sults.”

Head of Ar­chae­ol­ogy at the McGre­gor Mu­seum, David Mor­ris, was called to the sight yes­ter­day to eval­u­ate the re­mains.

Po­lice spokesper­son, Cap­tain Ser­gio Kock, con­firmed yes­ter­day that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was un­der way and urged any­one with in­for­ma­tion to come for­ward.

“Po­lice have opened an in­quiry af­ter ar­ti­sanal min­ers in Kim­ber­ley dis­cov­ered some bones that look like hu­man re­mains,” said Kock in re­sponse to me­dia en­quiries. “The bones will be sent for foren­sic ver­i­fi­ca­tion and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues.

“We are also await­ing the foren­sic re­sults of the pre­vi­ous in­ci­dent where hu­man re­mains were dis­cov­ered by the min­ers.

“Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can Call De­tec­tive War­rant Of­fi­cer Ken­neth Lamoen on 082 302 0407.”

DIG­GING UP BONES:

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