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Klerksdorp Midweek, Orkney - An inquest has been opened by the police following the death of four soldiers who were on duty in Orkney as part of Operation Vala Umgodi - an operation that deals with illegal mining activities.

They were deployed on a 24 hour shift at Shaft 3, a dormant mining shaft situated in Orkney, near the disused Harry Oppenheimer stadium which has been a hot spot for illegal mining. 

Lt-Col Amanda Funani, police spokesperson, confirmed that the bodies were found inside a container structure which was used as a guard house for those on 24 hours duty on the morning of Saturday July 6.

The bodies were discovered by the next shift, said Siphiwe Dlamini, SANDF spokesperson. 

He added that the district surgeon was called to the scene and examined the bodies and confirmed no injuries. 

A team from the Pretoria FSL Chemistry Unit, also attended the scene and preliminary findings are that the death of the members could have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, from a possible fire made by the members during the cold night inside the container structure. 

The bodies of the deceased were transported to the Klerksdorp State mortuary for further investigation and post-mortem. 

The names of the deceased will be announced once the families have been informed and all processes and formalities have been completed followed with the announcement of the funeral arrangements.