Four decomposed bodies were handed to officials in Orkney, the North West, by illegal miners who were later arrested after they were found trapped inside an underground mine shaft.
According to the police, the "manager" for the illegal miners - who are all believed to be illegal immigrants - contacted law enforcement officials to assist the accused who were starving inside the mine shaft after being trapped for several days.
The "manager" was not with the illegal miners at the time. They called him for assistance and he informed the police.
The accused, who appeared in court on Tuesday, are facing charges of illegal mining and for being in the country illegally.
The four dead illegal miners are Mozambican nationals. Of the 77 suspects arrested, 60 are from Lesotho and 13 are from Zimbabwe
Police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said the accused handed the bodies over to officials on Friday and they were currently being assessed for identification.
He added the arrests were as a result of an effort to clamp down on illegal mining operations by a multidisciplinary team comprising the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Illicit Mining Team, Orkney visible policing and detectives as well as a mining rescue team.
"Four decomposed bodies were brought up by the illegal miners on Friday, 15 April 2022. Of the 77 arrested illegal miners who were all medically examined, 60 are from Lesotho, 13 from Mozambique and four are Zimbabwean nationals.
"Formal identification process of the four bodies is underway," Mokgwabone said.
He added the suspects appeared in the Orkney Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.