Two Strikers Shot Dead At South African Coal Mine

Posted October 31st, 2012 at 6:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Two workers have been shot dead by mine security at a South African coal mine where protesters gathered to demand higher wages.

Police said the two were shot Wednesday, at a mine run by Forbes Coal near Dannhauser in eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, after trying to break into the facility's armory.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker said some security officers chased the dispersing miners into a nearby settlement and fired the shots, wounding two men.

He said both were taken to a hospital for medical treatment, but later died from their injuries.

Elsewhere in South Africa, miners at Anglo American Platinum mine, or Amplats, near Rustenberg, continued their illegal strike for higher wages. On Tuesday, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas in clashes with striking workers at the top platinum producer.

The strikers at Amplats mines, 120 kilometers northwest of Johannesburg, had been due to return to work Tuesday, following a company offer to reinstate 12,000 men who were fired after staging an illegal strike in August.

South Africa is one of the world's biggest producers of precious metals and has a large coal mining industry. But the output has been crippled by a series of massive strikes this year. Miners are demanding higher wages and better working conditions.

The number of illegal strikes has increased since police opened fire on striking miners at the Lonmin platinum mine, Marikana, in August, killing 34 people.