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AFRICA

Swedish man charged for Central African slaughter

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.

Swedish man charged for Central African slaughter

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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H&M

H&M mulls production in South America and Africa

Swedish fashion giant H&M is considering starting production in South America and Africa, chief executive Karl-Johan Persson told the Financial Times in an interview published on Monday.

H&M mulls production in South America and Africa

“When that part of the world is growing, which it is, it becomes even more interesting to look at production in South America or Central America. So, we are exploring that opportunity … We’re looking at (Africa) as well,” he said.

He added that the company is particularly looking into countries such as Mexico and Brazil.

His comments come almost one month after the collapse of a nine-storey garment factory complex in a suburb of Dhaka caved in and buried thousands of workers, killing over 1,200 people.

Persson, who last week called for a higher minimum wage in Bangladesh, had no suppliers in the building.

H&M announced on May 13th that it would sign an agreement drafted by global unions to improve safety in the Bangladeshi textile factories it uses.

The Swedish company plans to open its first store in Chile in 2013. Persson added that the company’s online launch in the US is scheduled for August this year.

AFP/The Local/og

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