HARARE (Reuters) – A Chinese-owned mining company denied on Tuesday it had drilled holes in a burial site in Zimbabwe, after local people complained about what they viewed as the desecration of graves.
Pictures posted on social media last weekend showed deep holes near graves in the Dinde area of Zimbabwe’s western Hwange district. Some residents have blamed Chinese-owned Beifa Investments, which is searching for coal.
However Beifa said the accusations against it were false and that its drilling site was “nowhere near” the graves.
“Beifa Investments (Pvt) Ltd categorically denies ever desecrating any graves in the Dinde Community as alleged or at all,” the company said in a statement, adding that it would ask the relevant authorities to investigate.
“If there are any holes on the grave site that would be the work of other people unknown to the company.”
Daniel Molokele, the Member of Parliament for the area, said he would travel to the area next weekend to investigate.
“Desecration of a cemetery has got spiritual effect on the community, it brutalizes people’s souls,” said Farai Maguwu, director of the Centre for Natural Resource Governance, a Zimbabwean watchdog. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe Editing by Helen Reid and Peter Graff)