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Murder charges dropped against miners accused of killing co-workers


South Africa

Murder charges dropped against miners accused of killing co-workers

South African prosecutors have provisionally withdrawn murder charges brought against 270 miners accused of killing 34 of their colleagues shot dead by police.

But authorities say the group could be recharged once their investigations are complete.

President Jacob Zuma, who has refused to intervene, has seen his support erode over the killings and the state’s handling of the matter.

Public anger had also been mounting at the charges, made under an apartheid-era law through which the miners were deemed to have had a “common purpose” in the murder of their co-workers.

In all, 44 people were killed in the wave of violence stemming from a strike and an alleged turf war between rival unions.

The police killing of the strikers last month at the Marikana mine, run by platinum producer Lonmin, was the worst such security incident since the end of white rule in 1994, and recalled scenes of apartheid-era state brutality.

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