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August 16th, 2012
11:19 PM ET

Striking miners fired on in South Africa

Rising tensions at a South African platinum mine exploded Thursday in grisly violence as police opened fire on striking miners.

Blood-stained bodies lay strewn about a field in a police response reminiscent of the ugly days of apartheid.

Police have not released a death toll, but a South African Press Association reporter counted 18 corpses. It's feared more could be dead.

Witnesses described the scene as chaotic, making it seemingly impossible to determine who started firing on whom first.

The South African Police Service, though, issued a statement late Thursday indicating its members trying to "disarm and disperse a heavily armed group of illegal gatherers at Lonmin mine" when they were fired upon.

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Filed under: South Africa