POLICE have released the names of the five artisanal miners who died at Nugget Gold Mine in Matobo, Matabeleland South, after a tunnel collapsed following a gold rush on Monday.
About 1 000 fortune seekers swarmed the area after news spread that rich gold deposits had been found at the abandoned mine.
Government on Tuesday completed the rescue mission after ascertaining that no bodies had been left underground and police cordoned off the area.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said: “We have identified the five people who died after a tunnel collapsed at Nugget Gold Mine in Matobo.
“The five are David Luphahla (26), Nkosilathi Dube (26), Promise Dube and Nobukhosi Bhebhe from Old Pumula suburb in Bulawayo and Nathaniel Bhebhe from Iminyela suburb also in Bulawayo,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He said the victims were identified by their relatives.
Asst Comm Nyathi dismissed claims that police officers were among the dead.
This was after members of the public circulated rumours that cops were part of the panners who died.
Asst Comm Nyathi said police will continue conducting law and order operations at the mine until sanity prevails.
“We can’t reveal the period we will be conducting patrols, surveillances and other operational activities relating to the maintenance of law and order.
“Suffice to say that we appeal to members of the public to cooperate with the police officers,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.