Chinese firm digging for coal in Zimbabwe denies disturbing gravesite

A CHINESE company digging for coal in Zimbabwe denied allegations by local community members that it had disturbed graves, said Reuters.

“Beifa Investments … 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 gravesite that would be the work of other people unknown to the company.”

Reuters said pictures had been posted on social media last weekend showing deep holes near graves in the Dinde area of Zimbabwe’s western Hwange district. Daniel Molokele, the Member of Parliament for the area, said he would travel to the area to investigate.

“Desecration of a cemetery has got spiritual effect on the community, it brutalises people’s souls,” Farai Maguwu, director of the Centre for Natural Resource Governance, a Zimbabwean watchdog, was quoted by Reuters to have said.

In 2020, the Zimbabwean government banned Chinese companies Afrochine Energy and Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group from digging for coal in the Hwange National Park after illegally drilling the area.

Mark Butcher, CEO of Imvelo Safari Lodges which owns four lodges inside Hwange National Park, commented at the time: “As an owner/operator and with over 40 years in Hwange since I first started as a cadet ranger, I am appalled and disgusted.

“I am convinced that we all need to build international pressure aimed at the Chinese and the Chinese companies involved.”