JAHANNESBURG – Fear and panic has gripped the community of Matholeville after nine zama zamas were killed in a deadly attack in the West Rand township in an alleged turf war over control of disused mine shafts.
Several community members in the area told Sowetan that an angry group of illegal miners from Zimbabwe attacked their counterparts from Lesotho, leaving nine people dead on the streets.
Residents said the fight was about the rights over the illegal mining in the area.
But Gauteng police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters said the killings came after a group of suspects allegedly accused their victims of being involved in criminal activities that attract the police to their illegal mining operations.
Peters said 87 people were taken in for questioning into the nine murder cases and an attempted murder case.
She said nine Lesotho nationals who were involved in illegal mining were stoned to death on Friday afternoon, allegedly by their fellow zama zamas from Lesotho.