New South Africa mine massacre video pressures police

Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:56am EST
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(Please note strong language in paragraph 10)

By Ed Cropley

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A new cellphone video of the police shooting of 34 miners in South Africa in August has piled more pressure on the security forces, showing officers bragging about the killings and undermining claims they fired in self defense.

Reuters television footage of some of the killings at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine showed a dozen striking miners being cut down in a hail of police gunfire.

The images of the bloodiest security incident since apartheid shocked the world and severely dented the reputation of Nelson Mandela's "Rainbow Nation" and the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which faces an election next year.

However, the majority of miners died in and around a small cluster of rocks - known as a 'koppie' in Afrikaans - about 400 meters (yards) away and out of sight of reporters and television cameras.

It is here that multiple witness reports have spoken of police officers gunning down miners as they surrendered or shooting them in the back as they fled.

The cellphone footage from the koppie, aired on Britain's Channel 4 television late on Monday, shows a police officer lying on the ground behind a rock with his pistol drawn.

The images were shot by his colleague, also lying in the grass, with the barrel of his sidearm regularly moving into the frame.   Continued...