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Developing story: Copperbelt Minister, Matambo, denies knowledge of retrieved corpses from mine disaster


Copperbelt Minister, Elias Matambo, says media reports suggesting that some miners were retrieved at the Chingola mine dumpsite are false.

Matambo who alongside Chingola lawmaker, Chipoka Mulenga, toured the mine site where the calamity befell said information gathered indicated that 31 miners were trapped on Thursday night.

Read more: Developing Story: Seven confirmed dead in Chingola mine tragedy

He said on Saturday that names of miners had been withheld to avoid jeopardizing information.

“According to information we have gathered at the open pit, so far there are three places where our miners are being trapped and about 31 names have been collected and withheld for further verification,” Matambo said in Chingola .

He stated that amongst those trapped are other miners from other towns like Luanshya, Kitwe Mufulira Chingola and surrounding areas.

Matambo insisted that there was no body that had been retrieved.

But earlier on Saturday the Zambia Police issued a statement on the incidence and provided the details of the persons that were retrieved.

Police spokesperson, Rae Hamonga, said in a statement that seven among more than 30 currently trapped in dumpsites had been retrieved and confirmed dead.

Hamonga named Christopher Chungu of Chikola Loop Area Chingola, Silvester (other names not known) of Monze road Maiteneke Chingola and
John (other name not known) of Mikiloni Chingola.

Others are a person only known as Bashi Prisca of no fixed abode, Joe (other names not known), Gold (other names not known) of shinde road Maiteneke, and another one only known as Bashi Emma of unknown address.

He said others drowned in the tunnels where they were digging copper ore after heavy rains and landslides buried the tunnels and are all suspected to have died.

In a surprise turn of the event, the Minister denied having retrieved any miner and accused social media of fabricating the story.

He, however, said efforts were being made by the Government through Zambia Army, Zambia National Service (ZNS) , Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) and other stakeholders to salvage the situation.

“We further urge the members of the public to ignore the purported number of people who have died being circulated on the social media,” Matambo said.

More details on the rescue mission coming.

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