The Zimbabwean government has tacitly admitted that soldiers have killed scores of people who were illegally prospecting for diamonds in Chiadzwa district of Manicaland province.
City council officials in Mutare, capital of Manicaland, said they were approached by a district administrator who asked them to allocate land for the mass burial of 83 bodies, including those of 78 people killed in Chiadzwa in recent weeks, the others victims of cholera.
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported earlier that soldiers were killing illegal miners in the Manicaland diamond fields, but no official figures had been released.
Mutare Deputy Mayor Admire Mukorera told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that local authorities told the government it should announce the deaths before burying the bodies.
More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...