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Report alleges South Africa killings were 'in cold blood'

JOHANNESBURG--South African special police shot dead strikers at Lonmin's Marikana mine “in cold blood,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer alleged Thursday after the violence which killed 44.

“Heavily armed police hunted down and killed the miners in cold blood,” wrote South African photographer Greg Marinovich on the Daily Maverick news website.

Television cameras screened the shooting live, which police afterwards justified as self-defense.

But most of the dead were shot away from blaring cameras, said Marinovich.

“A minority were killed in the filmed event where police claim they acted in self-defense. The rest was murder on a massive scale.”

Photographs with the article showed the letter “N” painted by police forensic experts on a rock crevice 300 meters (328 yards) behind the hill where the shooting was filmed.

The letter indicates corpse number 14 in forensic investigation.

“Approaching N from all possible angles, observing the local geography, it is clear that to shoot N, the shooter would have to be close,” said Marinovich.

“After having spent days here at the bloody massacre site, it does not take too much imagination for me to believe that N might have begged for his life on that winter afternoon.”

An eyewitness also told the photographer armored police trucks had driven over some strikers.

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