Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
Three of the 21 victims of the accident that occurred when a South Africa-bound Proliner Bus side-swiped a haulage truck and caught fire along the Harare-Beitbridge Highway three weeks ago will be buried in a mass grave after pathologists failed to identify them.
Government pathologists and forensic doctors have since positively identified the other 18 bodies.
Although Sinas Shoko, Tawanda Zimuto and Nyarai Warikandwa’s names appeared on the passenger manifesto, they could not be positively identified because they were seriously burnt.
Their relatives concurred that they boarded the bus and the fact that they were on the passenger manifesto meant they were the ones not positively identified and suggested the mass burial.
They will be buried in a mass grave at Glen Forest Memorial Park in Harare tomorrow.
Gweru Provincial Hospital was a hive of activity yesterday as relatives of the identified victims came to collect their remains and process burial orders and death certificates at the health facility.
The accident occurred at Nyamatikiti River at the 218km peg along the highway.
The bereaved families also received $700 each from Government to assist in the transportation and burial of the accident victims after the accident was declared a state of disaster.
Midlands provincial administrator Mr Abiot Maronge said Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) tests, a powerful tool for identification and has many practical applications, could not positively make a conclusion on the three victims.
Other common uses of DNA tests include parental testing to establish if someone is the biological parent of a child or forensic testing to help identify suspects or victims in a criminal investigation.
Mr Maronge said the three’s relatives had suggested a mass burial.
“You (the relatives) have suggested that we should bury them in a mass grave together,” he said while addressing the relatives. “As you have suggested, we will make burial arrangements for the mass grave and you have suggested Glen Forest as the burial place on Wednesday.
“We have managed to identify 18 bodies from the 21 accident victims. The remaining three could not be identified as their remains could not be identified through the DNA process.”
Police Officer Commanding Midlands Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Abigail Moyo told the relatives that the owners of the haulage truck which side-swiped with the bus offered to compensate relatives of the accident victims.
They were waiting for the DNA results and death certificates to put that into action.
Snr Asst Comm Moyo said the haulage truck driver was still in police custody after he refused to furnish police with his contact details and was facing 21 counts of culpable homicide.
“I am happy to inform you that the company which owns the truck which side-swiped with the bus have offered compensation to the bereaved families on top of the $700 that you received from Government,” she said.
“The haulage truck driver is still in police custody because he refused to disclose his contact details and residential address, so we could not release him considering that he is South African. He is facing 21 counts of culpable homicide and will appear in court soon.”
Snr Asst Comm Moyo said police were comfortable with the mass burial and would assist in the best way they could in the facilitation of burial orders and death certificates.
“As police, we will chip in should you encounter any logistical challenges and even in the facilitation of burial orders and death certificates.”
Midlands Civil Protection Unit (CPU) chairperson Mr Thompson Siziba said the names of the identified victims would be announced today once the next of kin of all of them were informed.