JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- South Africa on Monday released the first group of the 270 arrested Marikana miners following withdrawing murder charges against them.
About 50 Marikana miners have been set free on warnings by the Garankuwa Magistrate's Court, north of Pretoria on Monday afternoon, South African Press Association reported on Monday evening.
State prosecutor Nigel Carpenter confirmed the murder and attempted murder charges against 270 arrested miners were formally withdrawn.
"A total of 162 miners would be released on Monday," according to the media report.
On Aug.16, the shootout took place as police attempted to disperse several thousand striking miners at the Marikana mine in the northern province of the North West, leaving 34 miners dead, 78 other injured and 270 arrested.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Thursday charged 270 miners with the murder, attempted murder, public violence, illegal gathering as well as possession of dangerous weapons.
However, the murder charges against the 270 miners had been widely criticized in the following days.
On Sunday, the NPA announced it would drop murder charges against 270 arrested Marikana miners.
Those released miners will return to the Marikana mine on Monday evening, according to the report.
Magistrate Esau Bodigelo warned the 162 released miners not contravene the laws like interfering with the investigation and carrying the dangerous weapons.