The bodies of at least eight per sons who apparently had been summarily executed during the recent outburst of Zimbabwe's tribal violence were found today by four western correspondents.
Six corpses were found in the bush about half an hour's drive from Bulawayo, the capital of Matabeleland where more than 1,000 civilians reportedly have been killed in an Army offensive against dissidents.
There was no way of determining for certain who had killed the eight persons, but a farm worker said that three weeks ago he had seen soldiers from the Army's North Korean-trained 5 Brigade stop buses along the main highway to Bulawayo, take a number of men from the vehicles and into the bush. A little while later automatic gunfire was heard.
Persons interviewed declined to be identified or to have the precise locality mentioned. One resident said he thought the bodies had been left to instill fear in the populace to prevent them from supporting the dissidents.
The corpses, in an advanced state of decomposition, all had gaping holes in the top of the skull, indicating that the victims had been forced to lie face down side by side and then were shot from close range.
Two men had raised their hands over their heads in what seemed like a natural defensive reaction.
The bodies were partly covered by branches but the decomposition was so severe that the number of corpses could be determined only by counting the shoes.
The unburied bodies were found near a large lupane tree about 300 yards from the highway.
A mile away, at the foot of a rocky hillside, correspondents found a smoldering fire and, on closer examination, the remains of at least two bodies.
It is possible there were more bodies further down in the ashes. The neatly dug-out fire pit under an acacia tree measured about 6 by 10 feet.