08/07/2012, 00.00
CHINA - ZAMBIA

Miners arrested in Zambia: they killed their Chinese boss over unpaid wages

The Chinese manager paid the miners below the minimum wage. In 2010, two managers fired on a demonstration of workers, wounding 11.

Lusaka (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Twelve people, among them miners, were arrested by police in Zambia for the killing the Chinese manager in charge of the coal mine where they worked. The manager was known for harsh treatment of miners and delaying the payment of their salaries.

Police said that among the twelve people arrested were also people of the local village who joined the miners to "see justice done".

Shengzai Wu, 50, died after he was hit by a truck as he tried to escape through a tunnel. The accident occurred at Sinazongwe, 325 km from Lusaka. The suspects that drove the truck fled and are not among those arrested.

The miners had decided to show why the manager gave them a wage lower than the minimum established by law (220 USD).

The Collum mine, owned by China, is famous for similar episodes of tension. In 2010, two managers were charged with having fired at a group of miners who - even then - were protesting for higher wages. Later the charges were withdrawn, even if eleven miners were wounded.

Copper and coal mines are among the main industries in Zambia. China has invested more than 400 million U.S. dollars in this field. But its treatment of the locals is always a source of tension with the population.

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