Mine shoot-out death toll rises to 25

2012-08-17 07:27
(EWN)

(EWN)

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Lonmin mine shoot-out footage

2012-08-16 19:22

An attempt by the police to disperse striking workers at Marikana's Lonmin mine ended in a deadly shoot-out, watch the footage. WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENTWATCH

Rustenburg - Twenty-five people were killed in a shoot-out between police and miners at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, Rustenburg, the North West health department said on Friday.

"The death toll is standing on 25," provincial health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said.

That brings the total number of people killed at the mine in the past week to 35, including the ten people who were killed during protests that started on Friday. These included two policemen, two security guards and a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) shop steward.

Lekgethwane said that no admissions of injured people had been reported to hospitals in the area.

The police opened fire on mineworkers on Thursday afternoon after the armed group refused to disperse from a hilltop near the mine.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) about recognition agreements at the mine.

No choice but to use force

On Thursday evening, police spokesperson Captain Dennis Adriao said the police had no choice but to use force.

"The South African Police Service was viciously attacked by the group, using a variety of weapons, including firearms," said Adriao.

"The police, in order to protect their own lives and in self defence, were forced to engage the group with force."

Adriao said this had followed extensive and unsuccessful negotiations by police to disarm and disperse a heavily armed group of illegal gathers at a hilltop near the mine.

"This resulted in several individuals being fatally wounded, and others injured."

Adriao declined to confirm the death toll released by the health department.

The crime scene which covered a vast area was being managed by senior officials from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and supported by an expert team of detectives and forensic experts, he said.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega was due to address media at 11:30 on Friday at Lonmin Training Centre.

Read more on:    mining unrest

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