Miners blame rabbit for shooting

2012-08-25 10:30
Police officers wait on standby at the Marikana mine in the North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Police officers wait on standby at the Marikana mine in the North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Mineworkers at Lonmin's Marikana mine believe the killing of a rabbit was the reason the shooting happened, according to a report on Saturday.

The surviving mineworkers claimed that the medicine man who was alleged to have told them his muti would make them invincible had warned them not to kill the rabbit, the Saturday Star reported.

"The traditional healer warned all of us several times on the day not to kill the rabbit but some among us decided to chase it around the hill and killed it," mineworker Khabo Khabo told the newspaper.

"I still honestly believe that if it wasn't for the healer far more lives would have been lost on the day. If we had let the rabbit free all of the dead would still be alive," Khabo said.

A worker at the memorial service, held at the mine earlier this week, agreed.

Last Thursday, a total of 34 people were killed in a shooting near the mine when police tried to disperse striking miners. More than 70 people were injured.

The medicine man had reportedly promised the workers that police guns would malfunction when they faced them if they followed his instructions and took his muti.

Police video footage taken from a helicopter before the shooting showed the medicine man performing rituals as workers stripped naked before him in long queues.

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