LUSAKA (China) - ZAMBIAN police said on Sunday managers at a Chinese-run coal mine who shot at workers protesting poor working conditions would be charged with attempted murder.

Twelve workers at Collum Coal Mine in the southern town of Sinazongwe were injured on Friday when mainly Chinese managers fired randomly at the protesting workers.

'The managers are likely to be charged with attempted murder and this may be on Monday or Tuesday,' inspector general of police Francis Kabonde told journalists.

'A warn and caution statement has already been recorded and what should be realised is that there is no one above the law, as it had been portrayed by some people,' Kabonde said.

The incident has raised a political storm, with opposition leader Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front accusing the Chinese in the country of being untouchable because they are funding the ruling party ahead of next year's elections. 'What do you expect the government to do with the Chinese? They are their friends and they constantly fund them,' Sata told AFP.

Investment from China has been on the rise Zambia, with several copper and coal mines bought by Chinese firms.

Mine managers to be charged