Eight die in mine war
A deadly war between rival groups of illegal miners has erupted on the Reef.
Eight illegal miners were found murdered in and around a disused mine shaft on the East Rand at the weekend.
The men, who are believed to be from Lesotho, were all shot. Their bodies were found in three locations at the mine, near Daveyton, Benoni.
Five were found by security guards on Saturday near a mine dump. Yesterday another body was found in a field near the shaft entrance. Two more were found inside the shaft.
On the West Rand on Saturday, Durban Deep locals found the body of an illegal miner who had been shot dead.
Three weeks ago a Zimbabwean, Da Silver Mutumbami, was stoned to death at an abandoned mine compound in Durban Deep.
Basothos who saw the killing, said it was in retaliation for the shooting of three of their miners the day before.
Mutumbami, according to his family, was a car guard and not a miner.
Four months ago, 30 illegal miners on the East Rand had to be rescued after they were overpowered by members of a rival gang, who took their gold and sealed them in an abandoned shaft. The site is close to where the police found the dead miners yesterday.
Emergency s ervices yesterday used a mechanical digger to access a shaft and retrieve the two bodies.
The murders appear to be the latest in a string of deadly attacks in the war between Basotho and Zimbabwean miners vying for control of Gauteng's disused gold mines.
Until now the turf war appeared to be confined to the West Rand.
Major-General Oswald Reddy, of Honeydew police station, on the West Rand, said the recent unrest in the area had led to the police deploying a tactical response team and setting up a satellite station in Durban Deep.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said: "We suspect that the miners were killed in a feud between rival illegal miners trying to steal from each other.
He said investigations would confirm the exact motive for the killings.
"No arrests have been made in connection with the weekend's killings. We have increased patrols in the area."