October 18, 2010 / 2:07 PM / 10 years ago

Zambia charges Chinese bosses after miners shot

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Police in Zambia charged two Chinese mine managers on Monday with attempted murder in connection with the shooting last week of 11 miners protesting about poor pay and conditions, an official said.

The pair worked at Collum Mine Ltd, 325 km (200 miles) south of the capital, Lusaka. Police said on Friday they were investigating whether people associated with the mine’s management fired on the men during a confrontation over wages.

“They have been detained in prison pending their appearance in court,” Sinazongwe district commissioner Oliver Pelete told Reuters.

Nine of the shot men are out of danger, but two were transferred to a hospital in Lusaka at the weekend for surgery.

China is one of the biggest investors in the southern African nation’s mining industry but its companies have not enjoyed an easy ride with staff, unions or the political opposition, which routinely accuses them of abuses.

In 2005, five Zambians were shot and wounded by managers during pay riots at the Chinese-owned Chambishi mine in the northern Copperbelt Province.

Collum Mine supplies coal to mines in the Copperbelt and to Zambia’s largest cement producer, a unit of France’s Lafarge.

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