Zambia police Monday arrested 10 suspects in connection with the killing of a 50-year-old Chinese manager at the Collum Coal Mine over a pay dispute.
Mr Wu Shengzai aged, 50, died on the spot after the rioters hit him with a trolley inside an underground tunnel where he sought refuge.
The incident at the mine left eight Chinese workers injured, according to latest reports.
“We have got more than 10 suspects and I think before the day ends we will be in full control of the situation,” Southern Province deputy police commissioner Fred Mutondo told Africa Review.
“Some of them are actually miners. Some of them are just people who live in the villages. They are the people who just went to terrorise the Chinese. Whatever cry they had nobody knows.”
Police said eight of the injured Chinese, four who sustained severe injuries had been evacuated to the University Teaching Hospital in the capital Lusaka while the others were treated for minor injuries in Maamba town.
Zambia labour minister Fackson Shamenda called the incident unfortunate and that the workers involved would face prosecution.
The Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Zhou Yuxiao on Monday strongly condemned “the criminal and brutal actions at a work place” and demanded investigations.
“We request the relevant Zambian authorities to make serious investigations into the criminal case, handle the matter in accordance with relevant laws, bring the criminals to book and do justice for the victims, the injured and the affected company in a timely manner,” Mr Zhou said in a statement released Monday.
“While advising the Chinese business people to abide by the laws and regulations of the land, we equally ask the relevant Zambian government authorities to take concrete measures to protect the safety and security and the legitimate rights of the Chinese business community in Zambia and to create an enabling environment for foreign investments.” the statement added.
Two years ago, Zambian police charged two Chinese officials at the same mine with attempted murder following the shooting of 13 miners in a pay dispute.
Chinese companies have invested more than $1 billion in copper mines in Zambia but their local workers complain their work under inhuman labour conditions.
It is not clear whether operations at the mine have resumed.