By Sandra Lombe, Chibaula Silwamba and Ernest Chanda
Fri 15 Oct. 2010, 17:40 CAT [3229 Reads, 4 Comment(s)]
Southern Province police commanding officer Lemmy Kajoba confirmed the shooting
ELEVEN workers at the Chinese-run Collum Coal Mine in Sinazongwe District were yesterday allegedly shot at and wounded by managers after they protested over bad conditions of service.
And deputy speaker of the National Assembly Mutale Nalumango ordered that Vice-President George Kunda or home affairs minister Mkhondo Lungu explain to the nation about the shooting following Sinazongwe member of parliament Raphael Muyanda’s point of order over the incident in his constituency.
The eleven are currently admitted to Maamba General Hospital.
Sinazongwe District commissioner Oliver Pelete and Southern Province police commanding officer Lemmy Kajoba confirmed the incident in separate interviews.
However, Pelete said calm had returned to the mine as police had been dispatched to the area.
He named the victims as Simon Simwete, Abby Siameba, a Mwanamusiya, Madinda Siamubotu and Wisdom Himukomba.
Others are Boston Munakaze, Wallen Muntanga, Humphrey Chimuka, Brighton Siamfuna, Boas Siapwaya, Vincent Chengela and Ward Chanaina.
“Police are investigating the matter; we want the culprits to be brought to book. We have advised the people to be calm. The controversy was over the conditions of service,” Pelete said.
“I am told the Chinese were fearing that miners would attack them so they reacted by shooting at them. This happened early morning today Friday. We have asked the security to carry out investigations and arrest the suspects. The victims are at Maamba Hospital being attended to by medical personnel.”
Pelete said one of the victims was shot in the stomach while others were shot on the hands and legs.
“A shotgun was used so the small pellets harmed a number of them. The doctors are trying to operate on him the worker who was shot in the stomach so that they can remove the pellets. His condition is stable and the others are stable too,” Pelete said.
An eyewitness told The Post that the Chinese employers shot the victims in the neck, mouth, head, shoulder, chest and other parts of their bodies.
“The victims were temporarily admitted at Sinazeze clinic before they were transported to Maamba General Hospital,” the witness said. “After the shooting incident, the miners and local people got upset, they started protests. Even now people are still protesting.”
The witness said riot police officers had moved in to quell the violence.
And Muyanda, who stood on a point of order in the National Assembly, demanded for an explanation from the government over the shooting incident.
“Is minister of home affairs in order to keep quiet when 11 miners at Collum Coal Mine were shot and injured by their Chinese employer for simply asking for their earnings? Why is this government allowing Chinese to be abusing our people over their own resources?” an emotionally charged Muyunda asked.
“Yes, we need investors but are these the type of investors we need? Should we call for investors who can come and start harming our people? I want him to explain to the nation what really transpired.”
In her ruling, Nalumango said Vice-President Kunda or Lungu must give an explanation to the nation about the matter.
“Looking at the seriousness of the issue raised by hon Muyanda, I am asking his honour the Vice-President or the minister of home affairs to come and tell the nation next week what could have transpired,” said Nalumango.