IKANINI, South Africa (Reuters) - South African police shot and killed a striking miner when they used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a crowd of demonstrators gathered overnight on a hill near a Rustenburg area platinum mine, miners said on Friday.
Mbubhu Lolo, a striker from Anglo American Platinum, said one of his colleagues was shot in the stomach by a rubber bullet, an incident likely to inflame already fraught tensions between security forces and miners.
“He was shot here by the police,” Lolo told Reuters, pointing to his midriff.
Police on the ground near the shanty-town 120 km (70 miles northwest of Johannesburg, would not let reporters go up the hill to see the body, saying they were still investigating the scene. They were unable to confirm the death.
The base of the hill was littered with tear gas canisters and empty shell casings that miners said were used to fire rubber bullets.
Police shot dead 34 strikers at Lonmin’s nearby Marikana platinum mine on August 16, the bloodiest security incident since the end of apartheid in 1994. A further 13 people have died in labor unrest in the area since early August.
Reporting by David Dolan; Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Jon Herskovitz