Africa

Chinese bosses charged over Zambian mine shooting

  • 18 October 2010
  • From the section Africa
Injured miner Vincent Chenjela is cared for by his father in hospital in Lusaka, Zambia (18 Oct 2010)
Image caption Two of the miners are yet to be released from hospital, reports say

Police in Zambia have charged two Chinese mine managers with attempted murder after they allegedly opened fire on a group of miners.

At least 11 workers were injured in the incident at the Collum coal mine in the southern town of Sinazongwe.

The owners were reported to have felt threatened by the miners during a protest about their pay and conditions.

The case has brought an angry reaction in Zambia, where Chinese businesses have invested heavily.

Police say the miners had been protesting against poor working conditions at the Collum mine on Friday when the managers opened fire at random.

The injured men were treated in hospital at Sinazongwe but two were later transferred to a hospital in the capital, Lusaka, said Reuters.

Sinazongwe district commissioner Oliver Pelete told reporters the Chinese managers were being held in prison until their court appearance.

They have been named as Xiao Li Shan, 48, and Wu Jiu Hua, 46.

The attempted murder charge means the case can only be heard in the high court.

China has invested more than $400m (£250m) in Zambia's mining industry and Chinese investments in the country are continuing to grow.

But this has led to rising tensions in some areas and complaints that the government is prioritising Chinese investment over workers' rights.

The BBC's Mutuna Chanda in Lusaka says opposition politicians are planning to stage a protest outside the Chinese embassy.

They are angry at the shooting itself but also believe that the government has not taken a strong enough stand in such incidents, says our correspondent.

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