Evidence points to police manipulation in S. Africa

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JOHANNESBURG — South African police may have altered evidence and planted weapons after they shot dead 34 striking miners near Lonmin’s Marikana mines in August, according to photographic evidence presented at a commission of inquiry into the killings.

Photographs taken by police the night after the shootings show more weapons by the dead bodies than there were in photographs taken immediately after the violence on Aug. 16. Thousands of miners had gathered at hills in Marikana where 34 miners were shot dead by police and 78 wounded in the worst state violence since the end of apartheid in 1994.

South Africa is conducting a commission of inquiry to look into the parties responsible for 46 deaths, including two policemen and two security guards, during nearly six weeks of strikes at the Lonmin Marikana mines.

Video evidence shown Monday also indicated that some of the slain miners may have been handcuffed.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega said that the commission has launched an investigation into the discrepancies. She said she was presented with evidence that may have suggested one of the crime scenes had been tampered with nearly two weeks ago.

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