1. ITV Report

South African police open fire on striking miners

Police fire at striking miners outside a South African mine owned by Lonmin's of London Photo: Reuters

Several people have been killed after police in South Africa opened fire on striking miners.

Bloody corpses were left on the ground after the incident at the Marikana platinum mine about 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg.

Video footage filmed at the scene shows police officers shooting miners, who then fall to the ground. The footage has been edited for reasons of taste and decency.

There has been no confirmation of how many were killed or injured. Reuters are reporting that there were 7 bodies on the ground after the incident, while South Africa's SAPA news agency is reporting that their reporter witnessed 18 bodies lying on the ground.

ITV News understands the death toll to be more than 12.

It is not clear whether police were fired on.

The miners had been striking since last week and the owners of the mine, London registered company Lonmin, had previously described the situation as "tense."

ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies reports:

Ten people, including two policemen, have died over the past week, as fighting between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the owners at Lonmin's mine in Marikana continued.

Police said that after several day talks with union leaders had broken down, leaving them no option but to use force. Police spokesman Dennis Adriao said "Today is unfortunately D-Day"

Thousands of miners with sticks and machetes at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine Credit: Reuters

Lonmin, the London registered owners of the South African platinum mine where police opened fire on strikers have released a statement.

Lonmin Chairman Roger Phillimore said:

We are treating the developments around police operations this afternoon with the utmost seriousness. The South African Police Service (SAPS) have been in charge of public order and safety on the ground since the violence between competing labour factions erupted over the weekend, claiming the lives of eight of our employees and two police officers. It goes without saying that we deeply regret the further loss of life in what is clearly a public order rather than labour relations associated matter.

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