Swedish safari guide ‘let out’ of African prison

The Swedish company boss jailed in the Central African Republic on murder suspicions has been temporarily released, claiming that judges have realized they have no proof against him.

Erik Mararv, 27, who heads the big game Central African Wildlife Adventures Company, was arrested in March together with 11 of his employees after the bodies of 13 miners were discovered in Ngungunza.

“I don’t think there will be a trial,” Mararv told the TT news agency.

The 27-year-old was told in May that he was suspected of murder, yet was let out temporarily two weeks ago on sick leave and now is under house arrest at his home in the country.

“I feel quite well; the situation is of course much better now than what it was in the beginning. I’m just taking it one day at a time,” he said.

Several interrogations are planned for the week; however Mararv believes that the investigation will be shut down due to a lack of evidence.

“They have no proof and I think the judge has realized it. They have kept us in prison for essentially no reason and the international pressure on them has been large”

Mararv likely will be taken back to prison by the end of the week, with the court system estimated to be a long process.

“It’s a bit tough to go back there; it’s mostly just bare walls, several people in the same cell and food through a hole. We have been hit and knocked around, but nothing worse,” he said.

The Swedish foreign ministry on Tuesday expressed its “deep concern” over the conditions under which Mararv was being held.

Staff from the Swedish embassy in Kinshasa last visited him on June 19th and confirmed that he was doing well under the circumstances and the embassy is following the matter closely.

Human rights organization Human Rights Watch suspects that the rebel leader Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), lies behind the brutal murders.

According to Mararv, the murder victims worked in an illegal mining site in the safari area.

“At first, I thought it was a local deal, but all the people we have had contact with said that it must be the LRA. Then, the LRA attacked a few weeks ago in Bakouma and people who managed to evade the captors told how they heard talk of this mining site.”

“It shows that the same group lies behind both attacks,” he told TT.

TT/The Local/og

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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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