Zimbabwe’s Killing Fields: Mass Grave of Over 600 Bodies Found in Mine Shaft

Daily Mail (London), March 31, 2011

Hundreds of skeletons found in a remote mine shaft in Zimbabwe have been used as political propaganda by supporters of President Robert Mugabe.

The Fallen Heroes of Zimbabwe Trust, a previously little known group of Mugabe party loyalists, says says the remains of more than 640 bodies have been discovered in the disused Chibondo gold mine near the provincial center of Mount Darwin, 110 miles from Harare.

But while the trust says the bodies are those of victims of colonial atrocities committed under former leader Ian Smith, pathologists say visual evidence may point to more recent killings in a nation plagued by election violence and politically motivated murders.

The trust last month launched a program to exhume skeletons in the mine shaft in northeastern Zimbabwe, saying the country’s former rulers were guilty of human rights violations that far outweigh any accusations of rights abuses leveled against Mugabe’s party and his police and military.

Zimbabwe’s sole broadcaster, in news bulletins and repeated interruptions to regular programs, has urged ordinary citizens to visit the disused mine to witness the horror of colonial atrocities.

Reporters taken to Monkey William Mine at Chibondo on a trip organized by Mugabe’s Ministry of Information said school children were bused there.

Militants sang revolutionary songs, shouted slogans and denounced whites and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s pro-Western party for its links with Britain, the former colonial power.

‘Down with whites. Not even one white man should remain in the country,’ villagers, evidently carefully choreographed, proclaimed.

They danced at the site in what was said to be an ancient ritual to appease the spirits of those killed by white troops before independence in 1980.

Villagers appeared to go into trances and others wept and simulated firing guns.

Exhumed skeletons, bones and remains lay in random heaps, some covered by sheets and blankets, near a pile of coffins. Hair and clothes were clearly visible; one corpse wore black tennis shoes. The mine shaft emitted an overwhelming stench.

Journalists who descended a 40-meter shaft found a body with what appeared to be blood and fluids dripping onto the skulls below.

But Maryna Steyn, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, said human remains should not retain a strong stench after 30 years.

‘Usually, when we have remains that are lying around for more than a few years, the bones are no longer odorous,’ she said

Steve Naidoo, a pathologist at South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal, added it ‘seemed strange’ that bodies from three decades ago would still have some skin.

‘Bearing in mind that the bodies are exposed to an open environment, albeit in a mine shaft, scavengers can access them quite easily. In 30 years, one would expect complete and advanced skeletonisation,’ he said.

The Mount Darwin district saw some of the fiercest fighting in the seven-year bush war waged by Mugabe’s guerrillas that ended white rule and swept him to power.

Former colonial soldiers say guerrilla dead were disposed of in mass graves often doused with gasoline or acid.

Forensic tests and DNA analysis of the remains won’t be carried out, said Saviour Kasukuwere, the government minister of black empowerment. Instead, traditional African religious figures will perform rites to invoke spirits that will identify the dead, he said.

Mr Kasukuwere said the Chibondo remains were discovered in 2008 by a gold panner who crawled into the shaft. But spirits of war dead had long ‘possessed’ villagers and children in the district, he said.

‘The spirits have refused to lie still. They want the world to see what Smith did to our people. These spirits will show the way it’s to be done,’ he said, referring to Ian Smith, the last white prime minister of the former colony of Rhodesia.

‘This is the extent of atrocities committed by the Smith regime. They loot our resources and they close up the mine with our bodies.’

The prime minister’s party has criticised the exhumations for stoking hatred at a time the nation still seeks healing not only from the pre-independence war but also from political violence that has left hundreds dead over the past decade and tens of thousands of documented cases of torture and abduction.

After independence an estimated 20,000 civilians were killed by Mugabe’s soldiers when they crushed an armed uprising in the western Matabeleland province. Many of those victims still lie in unmarked mass graves in the arid bush.

In a sweeping crackdown ahead of elections proposed this year, police and security officials have banned rallies of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, arrested its lawmakers on what the party describes as trumped up charges and have hounded human rights activists.

Tsvangiria’s party has called for scientific research and ‘informed debate and reflection’ on all violence that included killings of its supporters surrounding disputed elections in 2008.

The party stopped short of alleging that the corpses at Chibondo could include its supporters who have disappeared and remain unaccounted for in years of political and economic turmoil.

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  • Canadian Boer

    The useless, stupid western liberals that sold out Rhodesia to anti-white marxist terrorists, while safely living 10,000 miles away, should be sent to the mess they helped create. Very typical of Mugabe to blame Ian Smith for his own atrocities. During the Bush War, Mugabe’s thugs would burn down entire villages that didn’t support him, but no, Ian Smith is evil.

  • Occidentus

    Is there anybody else who was reminded of the Katyn Forest Massacre by this article?

  • Anonymous

    ‘Down with whites. Not even one white man should remain in the country,’

    I agree. And you should not be allowed in a white country. And forget about foreign aid. But that would make me (and not you) racist.

  • Old Soldier

    I happened to be in Rhodesia during its final days on one of my, er, birdwatching trips, so I feel a certain affinity for this once beautiful country.

    The clumsiness of Mugabe’s thugs in staging this “white atrocity” is so inept as to need no further comment. I wonder if they maybe thought of putting up a “Baby Milk Factory” sign. Obviously Comrade Bob and his ilk are growing desperate.

    During the “War of Liberation” Rhodesian Intelligence was thoroughly infiltrated by British agents. Any atrocity committed by Ian Smith’s government would have been well known in Whitehall and would have been exposed long ago. On the other hand, the atrocities of Mugabe, Nkomo and Company were completely covered up by the British and only known to a handful who got their facts directly from Rhodesia.

  • sbuffalonative

    Canadian Boer:

    Here in Buffalo, we have lots of free Marxist papers that are put in coffee shops. They write glowing articles about people like Mugabe and Zuma et.al. They always frame the articles to make these murdering tyrants sound like victims of imperialism and racism.

    It’s shocking that people can write and presumably believe such propaganda.

  • SKIP

    Not surprising! If these many bodies were to be found in the U.S. the DoJ and the Obamuslim would blame Bush. Nothing is EVER the fault of blacks, EXCEPT maybe space travel, internal combustion engines, the internet, electricity and such things as make life a bit easier.

  • Anonymous

    “… spirits of war dead had long ‘possessed’ villagers and children in the district, he said.” Apparently the natives can detect the spirits but nobody saw the dumping of 600 bodies into the mine. Those natives claim to be spiritually atuned to their locality but not very observant of their environment. Of course these people are fearful that Mugabe will include them should they dispute his excuses. Couple that with a tradition of spiritual explanations, as science eludes them and is a white man’s invention. The “big lie” of blaming an enemy from without, in this case whites rather than a neighboring nation, is a long practiced political method to galvanize the population. It is regularly used to keep the citizens from rebelling against their leaders.

  • Anonymous

    “Reporters taken to Monkey William Mine at Chibondo on a trip organized by Mugabe’s Ministry of Information said school children were bused there.”

    In general, anytime you have 600 corpses in Africa, the deaths are MUCH more likely to have been caused by blacks than by whites. That alone would lead me to think that this mass grave was the handiwork of Robert Mugabe rather than Ian Smith. Now add the fact that experts say the 600 stiffs still look and smell too “fresh” (probably not the right word under the circumstances) to be 30+ years old, and it only confirms my initial suspicions that these dead bodies were victims not of colonial Rhodesia but of postcolonial Zimbabwe. They were killed not because they opposed white rule, but because they opposed their black dictator Mugabe.

    The name of that mine again: Monkey William Mine.

  • olewhitelady

    Black Africans, who believe anything themselves (Mugabe thinking diesel really sprang from a rock, e.g.) apparently expect whites to be as easily convinced–and, of course, the Western left has proven them partly right. Check out the Ozzie Saffa website for a SA man holding a sign claiming to be a tsunami victim! I wonder whether the guy believes “tsunami” simply means “disaster” or whether he thinks his fellow citizens will buy anything.

  • Anonymous

    The logistics will be what determines this.

    If there were multiple truckings of bodies to the site, there will be fuel bills from nearby gasoline stations and recent type tire track marks and _memories_ of ongoing vehicle traffic. Life may well be short and hellish in Africa but people will still be around who recall the Ian Smith period and if not, they will certainly remember more recent atrocities, especially if their own ‘missing’ are among them (Probably not if they are white, never bleep where you sleep is a pretty common rule. Possibly so if they are black, because blacks don’t like to organize over long stretches of travel or time…).

    That black tennis shoe is also probably dateable, based on rubber chemistry and possibly styling or tread pattern.

    The fact that there will be no DNA analysis and that bones are ‘heaped together’ is itself suggestive of exceptionally poor forensics as a deliberate coverup effort because the first thing you do is grid and photo the area itself to determine _layering_ as well as dispersion of remains, then each layer of say 6-10″ is treated as a discrete.

    Finally, I would also look at this ‘discoverer’, real close. Slithering down into a mine looking for more gold, 30 years after it had been played out doesn’t strike me as something a black would do, unless he’d been told to.

    At best, this was an Old Colonial dumping ground whose use has continued through the ‘new owners’. At worst…

    Someone should reach down in passing and grab up as many mandible-too skulls as they can. The smellier the better. That gives you DNA and clay-reconstruction in a single shot.

    KPl.

  • John Engelman

    Forensic tests and DNA analysis of the remains won’t be carried out, said Saviour Kasukuwere, the government minister of black empowerment.

    – Daily Mail (London), March 31, 2011

    These tests and analysis would determine the race/s of the victims. It is unlikely that the white minority regime of Ian Smith would have killed many if any whites.

  • S.L. Cain

    This story epitomizes the three traits one expects from a black government: brazenness, brutality, and incompetence.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    From the article:

    The spirits have refused to lie still. They want the world to see what Smith did to our people.

    If the spirits have any sense, this is what they will show the world “what Ian Smith did” for black people in Rhodesia:

    Rhodesia was an island of sanity and productivity in the middle of a sea of oppression and want. Black citizens of Rhodesia had access to better education, housing, health, and economic conditions than any of their ‘liberated’ neighbors. The nation that had earned the reputation as southern Africa’s bread basket was full of farms and ranches that were marvels of productivity. Tourism, especially visits to the world famous Victoria Falls, also fueled its economy.

    In 2004, Smith declared, ‘There are millions of blacks who say things were better when I was in control. I have challenged Mugabe to walk down the street with me and see who has the most support. I have much better relations with black people than he does.’

    Got that spirits?

    Rhodesia, a country that used to export food, now verges on starvation.

    In 2009, 0bama pledged 73 million American taxpayer dollars to support this White-hating African hell state.

    But to Africans and the Marxist Western press, the failure of blacks will always lie with Whites, as blacks, including black “leaders” continue to slaughter Whites, their own people and one another mindlessly and endlessly.

    And, lastly, for the brave Ian Smith: Cuiridh mi clach air do chàrn

    Bon

  • Anonymous

    Some of the remains looked and smelled “fresh”

    Now I ask you: Have you ever seen a fresh-killed opossum on the side of the road? As you drive by it day-after-day, how long does it remain “fresh” with skin and hair? 4 weeks? 2 months? First maggots, then hide beetles quickly decompose any tissue remains, until after a few months, nothing but bleached bones remain. Of course, during winter or in very cold environments, the process takes longer, but never longer than 1-2 yrs.

    The only conclusion that can be reached is that at least some of those bodies are new.

  • The Welshman

    When the German extermination camps were discovered, the local German people – who were in denial – were forced to visit the camps and assist in burying the bodies of the thousands of dead Jews. Wouldn’t it be justice if we, in Britain, could arrest all the left wing, PC, bleeding heart liberal communist politicians in this country, starting with Peter Haine, who brought about the end of civilisation in Rhodesia/South Africa and are, indirectly, responsible for these massacres, and take them, forcibly, to Zimbabwe to identify and re-bury these unfortunate people in a Christian way. Sadly, if you wait for Cameron to make even a comment on this, you’ll wait till Hell freezes over…. He is totally committed to PC: ‘Black people are totally incapable of committing such terrible crimes’…

  • Anonymous

    I actually have an advance copy of a book by liberal, anti apartheid activist, white Rhodesian/Zimbabwean Peter Goodwin’s latest book Mugabe’s atrocities called “The Fear, Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe”.

    This passage regarding the 2008 elections to be illuminating.

    “Genocide Watch, the Washington DC-monitoring organization that specializes in recognizing the signs that group killings are imminent, issues a chilling “politicide warning” on 19 June. Zimbabwe, they say is now at a stage six, “the preparation stage immediately preceding political mass murder.

    They recognize the growing instances of murder and torture victims having their ears, lips and sexual organs cut off “as one of the surest signs of dehumanizing target groups during genocide and politicide. The killings of opposition leaders’ families is also a prelude, as is the phenomenon of “mirroring”, a strange but common psychological mechanism of denial used by mass murderers, whereby the perpetrators accuse the victims of doing what perpetrators themselves are doing.

  • B J Deller

    I lived in South Africa for 24 years and we escaped in 1999 after 5 years of the new ex-terrorist ANC government’s rule, fed up with having to carry guns daily and to surround our township (900 homes) with a steel fence enclosure to keep the savages out like many others in the area. Not all black South Africans are bad though as many of our black friends knew what was happening just as the Rhodesian blacks did and they fought Mugabe, etc alongside with the Rhodesian whites who were being robbed of the 100 years of hard work they had put into the country making it vital to sub-Saharan Africa’s food supplies, and tobacco etc..

    But we all knew that Mugabe was and had killed tens of thousands of the Matabele (the Ndebele) tribe as they were a threat to his dictatorship in the early 1980s. The mass graves are still there and witnesses are still alive, willing to testify if they can be guaranteed safety.

    Gdaffi now, hopefully Mugabe tomorrow. They will be begging for aid soon. All in the West must insist that none be given. South Africa and the other African Union countries can cover the mess they have created.

  • Kenelm Digby

    You don’t have to be Colombo to work out that something is not quite right with this story.

    A ‘disused mine shaft’ must have a custodian – a person or authority in charge of it and acquainted with it.

    It’s all rather strange that the remains are ‘suddenly discovered’ over 30 years after Ian Smith left office.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    if we, in Britain, could arrest all the left wing, PC, bleeding heart liberal communist politicians in this country, starting with Peter Haine, who brought about the end of civilisation in Rhodesia/South Africa and are, indirectly, responsible for these massacres

    For God’s sake don’t leave the White-hating American lefties of the Carter regime out of the equation, those who were equally if not more culpable for the downfall of Rhodesia starting with Kissinger, possibly THE most responsible:

    U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger summoned Smith to Geneva and gave him a heavy dose of power politics. If Rhodesia would not agree to immediately allow majority rule, Smith was told, her oil supplies would be cut off and more sanctions would be imposed. Friends of the Rhodesian leader would later insist that the man aged 10 years during the week he spent in Geneva.

    Other reports I’ve read of this incident claim that Kissinger threatened Smith with an invasion of Rhodesia.

    Under tremendous pressure from the US, “free” elections were held:

    The winner turned out to be Bishop Abel Muzorewa, a moderate, who became the nation’s new prime minister. He and Smith came to America hoping that Kissinger’s demands had been met. But Carter administration heavyweights led by Cyrus Vance, a Kissinger ally ignored the election results, and demanded that Nkomo and Mugabe be given places in the government. So-called ‘peace talks’ in London followed in 1979 with the result that the two leaders who had been lobbing shells and conducting forays into Rhodesia, killing thousands, were now part of the government.

    The US government also led and enforced UN sanctions upon Rhodesia despite having no business meddling in the affairs of another country.

    Smith traveled to Washington, D.C., to ask for help. He wasn’t asking for foreign aid; he merely hoped to persuade President Carter to call off the economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure being applied by the U.S. State Department, the UN, and Britain in an attempt to force Rhodesia to accept rule by the Mugabe/Nkomo terrorist forces. Carter flatly refused to see Smith.

    Later the US government had the nerve to release this statement as Rhodesia turned into a police state and slaughterhouse:

    All in all, the election and handover represented a triumph of democracy in the face of considerable external pressure.

    — Andrew Young, President Carter’s Ambassador to the United Nations

    Today Kissinger is venerated as a “great” statesman, as Mugabe’s opponents have been silenced, arrested, and jailed. Mugabe has fixed elections in his favor, crushed dissent, and driven the nation to economic ruin.

    While the damned Western Press, in its silence, stands by, complicit as inhuman acts and genocide are perpetuated against Whites in Zim and SA:

    The New York Times, Washington Post, and virtually all the rest of the major print and broadcast media choir had persistently sung Mugabe’s praises, ignoring his well-documented record of atrocities against civilian men, women, and children — black and white.

    None of that matters to the White-hating msm because blacks everywhere no matter what they do to Whites are never held accountable for their actions, even of the most vile sort.

    As I’ve maintained repeatedly on this site and elsewhere: The msm are a mortal enemy of Whites and should be considered such at all times.

    As Ian Smith summarized in 1998:

    I told you so. History records that my predictions have materialized.

    But, don’t ever expect the Western press to report those words.

    Bon

  • Kelly123

    Spirits can’t identify the dead! How silly! Everyone knows you need a Magic 8 Ball for that…

  • Anonymous

    Did Mugabe think he was going to get away with this? The question itself is wrongheaded.. Mugabe doesnt “think”, Black

    Africa doesnt “think”. They have an overwhelming emotional need

    and they invent some simulacra of “reality” to fit that need.

    Mugabe needed to get reelected..his followers need to have

    some cause for why nothing in the country works. The need

    generates the belief. Does Mugabe

    remember that these killing fields were his doing? Again

    such an act of “remembering” would be a forced encounter with

    facts, and unwelcome memories that cannot be force fit into his

    ideological/emotional needs..and so no actual “remembering” ever takes place. First the emotional need..than the custom creation of a world to fit it. Magical Thinking African style.

  • SKIP

    ” as Mugabe’s opponents have been silenced, arrested, and jailed. Mugabe has fixed elections in his favor, crushed dissent, and driven the nation to economic ruin.

    Just change the name Mugabe to Obama and you have described the soon to be situation in America.

  • alex

    Rhodesia’s GREAT mistake…and also South Africa’s….was in giving in to the decadent societies of the West.

    Yes, the world-wide trend at the time both nations gave up their land to criminal, freeloading blacks was in a madness mode that was hell bent on the destruction of the West, under a minority of elitists who comprise the moronic do-gooder fringe.

    But, things are changining right now. The backlash to it all is

    in progress. These same Western fools who pushed for black power are the same ones who were responsible for the present economic debacle we’re in right now, which is slowly getting worse, and, as the situation continues to deteriorate, we will see much hatred and violence directed at the multicultural elements who have been responsible.

  • Lauren

    The mention of black Tennis shoes leads me to wonder whether anyone photographed the labels on the clothes. Or analyzed the fibers. It would be interesting if clothing lines nonexistent thirty years ago, and fibers not yet invented, turned up among the still-fresh bodies of those supposedly murdered by the Colonial Regime.

    And clothing manufacturers periodically change their labels. So really, Forensics aside, it would not be very difficult to put a “no sooner than…” date on the bodies.

    But as we all know, the truth is fast becoming irrelevant.