Watchdog probes police abuse in Marikana

2012-08-27 14:02
Police monitor the area outside the Marikana mine in the North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Police monitor the area outside the Marikana mine in the North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on Monday was probing complaints that officers had beaten and injured platinum workers arrested after police killed 34 protesters at an illegal strike.

"We are investigating allegations of assault," said IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini.

Autopsy reports on most of dead meanwhile showed they had been shot from behind, The Star newspaper reported on Monday.

"The post-mortem reports indicate that most of the people were fleeing from the police when they got killed," an unnamed source involved in the investigation told The Star.

"A lot of them were shot in the back and the bullets exited through their chests," said the source, adding only a few were found to have been shot from the front.

Police have said they were acting in self-defence when they opened fire with live ammunition on striking workers at the platinum giant Lonmin's Marikana mine on August 16.

Police arrested more than 250 people after the shooting, which followed clashes blamed on inter-union tensions that had already killed 10 people, including two police officers who were hacked to death.

The probe into detainee abuse could take more than a week to complete and was separate from the watchdog's investigation into the shooting, said Dlamini.

Investigators had logged 130 complaints by Friday evening from the detained workers and "some have sustained injuries", he said.

"The injuries have been confirmed," Dlamini told AFP, saying these were bruises.

"We don't know how many people have been assaulted so the investigators are going from station to station where the victims are held to take their statements and we need to identify also who the perpetrators are," he said.
Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  ipid  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest  |  police brutality
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