Police shoot at Marikana residents: Claim

2012-09-15 16:16
Marikana miners. (File, AP)

Marikana miners. (File, AP)

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Video

Marikana police raid

2012-09-15 15:25

Watch police fire tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse workers at Lonmin Marikana mine after raiding hostels and seizing traditional weapons.WATCH

Rustenburg - Police officers assigned to disperse protesting Lonmin mineworkers were accused of shooting residents of Nkaneng informal settlement in Marikana on Saturday morning.

Several community members emerged with bleeding wounds, which they claimed were caused by police rubber bullets.

Two women sat in a narrow path in the informal settlement, surrounded by sympathetic residents.

One of the wounded, Melita Ramasedi, said they were shot at while watching the police breaking up the crowd of protesters.

"I am deeply hurt by this situation. A police nyala drove past us, we were a group of women and others ran away.

"I just stood there, watching and they shot me in my leg," she said showing her bleeding leg.

Children in cross-fire


Another victim Ntombe Ncence was visibly upset as she told journalists that she was at the entrance of a spaza shop when she was shot with a rubber bullet.

"I do not understand why the police officers shot me. I was knocking at the door of a shop and police officers inside a nyala shot my leg."

The bleeding woman said she did not know where her two children had fled to when the skirmishes between mineworkers and police began in the morning.

Earlier, a 24-year-old man said police officers shot him with a rubber bullet while he was repairing his shack in the informal settlement.

Xolisa Ntshantha said he does not work for a mine and had never been part of the protests.

"I was working on my shack and suddenly I was shot from behind. I did not realise where the police officers came from," said Ntshantha.

Pepper spray

"They manhandled me and threw me into the nyala. I was assaulted by police officers inside the truck," he claimed.

Ntshantha raised his shirt and torn jacket to reveal a large red blister on his back. Earlier, the protesters gathered at an open veld next to the koppie, where 34 people were killed in a violent confrontation on 16 August. They sang, waving weapons, before the police arrived.

At least seven police nyalas drove into Nkaneng, causing workers to scamper in different directions.

The crowd ran into the informal settlement as the nyalas followed them on narrow foot paths.

A cloud of pepper spray filled the area causing protesters and journalists to shed tears and cough.

Earlier, police raided a nearby hostel. Five people were arrested and weapons were confiscated.

Contraband weapons

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said the people were arrested during a disarmament operation at a hostel where hundreds Lonmin mineworkers live.

Police confiscated a large number of knobkerries, pangas and other dangerous weapons.

Ngubane could not give an exact quantity of arms confiscated, but said "truck loads" of contraband weapons were seized.

On Thursday, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe told journalists in Pretoria that government would "deal very swiftly" with illegal protests.

The situation at the mines did not warrant a declaration of state of emergency, he said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    lonmin  |  jeff radebe  |  mahikeng  |  labour  |  mining  |  mining unrest
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