JOHANNESBURG - A branch leader of South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was shot dead on Friday near a mine run by platinum producer Lonmin as labor unrest sweeps the mining sector.

NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka told Reuters the union leader had been killed "execution style" in the evening hours but gave no further details.

Earlier on Friday Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) fired 12,000 wildcat strikers, a high-stakes attempt by the world's biggest platinum producer to push back at the illegal stoppages in Africa's biggest economy.

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