Swedish man charged for Central African slaughter
Published: 15 May 12 07:43 CET
A Swedish professional hunter and 10 members of his safari firm have been charged with murder after 13 miners were found dead in the northeast of the country, police said Monday.
Erik Mararv, who heads the big game Central African Wildlife Adventures company, and the 10 employees, several of them foreigners, "were charged with murder on Thursday and remanded in custody in Bangui's central N'garagba prison where they were being held," a police official told AFP.
They were initially detained last month in Bakuma and Bangassu and then taken to the capital Bangui.
The bodies of the 13 miners who had been working in Ngungunza were discovered on March 29th.
Photos of the dead men showed them to have been bound with their hands behind their backs and beaten or stabbed to death, police had earlier said.
"The inquiry that followed the discovery of the 13 corpses in the Ngungunza mining worksite ... was carried out with utmost discretion with a view to gathering a maximum of evidence likely to lead to the truth," the official said.
At the time of his arrest, the Swede's wife insisted her husband had nothing to do with the killings.
“In the southern part of our hunting grounds there is a place where they pan gold in a stream. We were building roads in that area, and we had some employees from central Africa working with us. They went down to the stream to fetch water and found dead people. They called my husband and asked him what to do,” the man’s wife told daily Expressen at the time of his arrest in mid-April.
The organization Human Rights Watch wrote on their website that they have documented several attacks in the region, suspected to having been carried out by The Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group, “including a massacre of 13 artisanal gold diggers in the Cawa Safari camp area around March 20”.
The group says that further investigations will be required to determine if the attack was carried out by the LRA or not, although the massacre resembled previous LRA attacks in Congo.
“The victims were beaten to death with machetes and pieces of wood. Some were tied up or stripped naked before they were killed. The LRA is the only armed group suspected to have been active in the camp area recently,” the organization wrote.
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