JOHANNESBURG Four suspected illegal miners were found dead with gun shots wounds to the head at a gold mine near Johannesburg, South African police said on Sunday.
The bodies were found by security guards employed at the mine on Saturday, police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said, adding the motives for the killing were unknown.
Illegal mining of abandoned shafts is common in the gold mines around Johannesburg, with informal miners living underground in dangerous, cramped conditions for weeks on end as they dig out small parcels of gold-bearing ore.
Earlier this year, a dozen illegal miners were rescued after being trapped in an abandoned gold mine in the semi-rural Johannesburg suburb of Benoni, where gold had been mined for decades.
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Nick Macfie)