Chinese quizzed over mine shooting

2010-10-16 22:35

Lusaka - Zambian police on Saturday questioned two Chinese managers over the shooting and wounding of 11 miners protesting over pay and conditions, an official said.

Sinazongwe district commissioner Oliver Pelete said that police had recorded statements from the two managers at Chinese-owned Collum Mine Ltd, about 325km south of Lusaka, in connection with Friday's shooting.

"The police have opened a case record and are now awaiting the advice of the director of public prosecutions on whether to proceed with the case," Pelete said.

Police said on Friday they were investigating whether people associated with the Chinese owners may have opened fire on the protesting miners when they confronted management.

Pelete said two of the miners with serious bullet wounds had been transferred to a bigger hospital in Lusaka for surgery. The other nine were out of danger.

"The situation at the mine is calm and production should resume by tomorrow because the management agreed to address the concerns of the miners," Pelete said.

A Chinese embassy spokesperson said on Saturday there had been tension between the Chinese owners of the mine and local employees leading to the shooting incident, but refused to comment further.

Collum Mine Ltd supplies coal to mines in the mineral-rich Copperbelt and to Zambia's largest cement producer, a unit of France's Lafarge.