LUSAKA — Managers at a Chinese-run Collum Coal Mine in Zambia shot and wounded 12 miners who were protesting against poor working conditions, police said on Saturday.
“The workers were protesting against the poor working conditions when managers using shotguns started to shoot aimlessly, not in the air, thereby wounding 12 workers,” police spokesman Ndandula Siamana told AFP.
Before the Friday incident in the southern town of Sinazongwe, workers had constantly been complaining about poor working conditions at the mine.
Siamana said police were investigating the incident and no charges had been brought against the managers.
“It’s possible that the managers feared that they might be attacked but we shall ensure that the culprits are brought to book,” Siamana said.
The 12 workers are currently being treated at a local hospital for various gunshot wounds.
The incident has halted production at the mine and threatened to worsen relations between workers and Chinese employers in the mining industry and other sectors.
Chinese investment in Zambia is on the rise, with several Chinese firms having snapped up mines in the copper rich southern African country.
In March, a Chinese company invested 37 million dollars (27.7 million euros) to revive a dormant nickel mine in the country.