Zambian police arrest 12 over killing

2012-08-06 17:58

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Lusaka - Zambia's police arrested 12 people over the death of a Chinese manager in a wage riot at a Sino-owned coal mine known for sometimes violent tensions with workers, a spokesperson said on Monday.

"We have arrested 12 people in connection with the killing of a Chinese manager at Collum Coal mine, although we have not yet charged them," southern province police commissioner Fred Mutondo said.

"Not all the 12 are employees of the mine. Some are villagers that joined in the riot."

Wu Shengzai, 50, died after being hit by a trolley which was pushed toward him as he fled underground. A Chinese colleague was also injured in the attack in Sinazongwe, 325km south of Lusaka.

Chinese investment in the world's biggest copper producer topped $1bn in 2010 but tensions over working conditions have dogged the Asian giant's relations with locals.

The suspects who pushed the trolley towards Wu were not part of the group arrested.

"We have a clear lead of the people who released the trolley to kill their manager but these people are still on the run," Mutondo said.

The miners rioted during a strike at the Chinese-owned Collum Coal mine to protest delays in implementing a new minimum wage.

In 2010, two of the mine's managers were charged with attempted murder after allegedly opening fire on a group of protesting miners. The charges were later dropped.

Eleven Zambian workers were injured in the incident and the mine has since then been a source of controversy between Chinese investors and Zambians.

- SAPA

Read more on:    angola  |  southern africa
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