South African leader vows probe into police shootings
MARIKANA, South Africa – President Jacob Zuma rushed home from a regional summit Friday and announced an official inquiry into a police shooting of striking miners that left 34 dead and 78 wounded, an incident that police claimed was self-defense despite video recordings suggesting the protesters were not attacking them but running from clouds of tear gas.
Wives of miners at the Lonmin platinum mine northwest of Johannesburg searched for loved ones missing from Thursday’s shooting and staged a protest, demanding to know why officers fired automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns at the strikers, many of whom had been armed with spears, machetes and clubs.
“Police stop shooting our husbands and sons,” read a banner carried by the women Friday. They kneeled before shotgun-toting police and sang a protest song, saying “What have we done?” in the Xhosa language.
At least 10 other people have been killed during the week-old strike, including two police officers battered to death by strikers and two mine security guards burned alive when strikers set their vehicle ablaze. Tensions remained high Friday among strikers, who are demanding monthly salary raises from $625 to $1,563.
Another Afghan police attack kills 2 U.S. troops
KABUL, Afghanistan – A newly recruited Afghan village policeman opened fire on his American allies Friday, killing two U.S. service members minutes after they handed him his official weapon in an inauguration ceremony. It was the latest in a disturbing string of attacks by Afghan security forces on the international troops training them.
Later Friday, an Afghan soldier turned his gun on foreign troops in another part of the country and wounded two of them, a spokesman for the NATO coalition said.
The attacks in the country’s far west and south brought to seven the number of times that a member of the Afghan security forces has opened fire on international forces in the past two weeks.
Such assaults by allies, virtually unheard of just a few years ago, have recently escalated, killing at least 36 foreign troops so far this year. They also raise questions about the strategy to train Afghan national police and soldiers to take over security after most foreign troops leave the country by the end of 2014.