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Govt aids fleeing miners

By Zhang Yiwei and Liu Chang Source:Global Times Published: 2013-6-8 1:08:02

 

Chinese gold miners in Ghana who hid in forests or locals' homes from a government crackdown are retreating with the help of representatives sent by the Chinese government and embassy.

Officials with the Chinese embassy and Shanglin county of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, where most of the miners are from, are rescuing miners trapped at different mining sites.

Li Jun, an official from the Shanglin government's office in the West African country, told the Global Times that a team of five has been set up to pick up miners from mining areas, adding that some people even voluntarily organized self-rescue efforts.

However, Li said they still need more people in the rescue effort. "We picked up several miners on Thursday, and many others are still asking for help," Li said. "Our hands are almost full, but if we don't come, they dare not walk out."

Zhou Shibo, one of the miners who was safely transferred to a hotel in Kumasi, told the Global Times that after the Chinese embassy negotiated with the Ghanaian military, the military picked them up from the village they were staying in.

"Many of my friends are still hiding in the forest," Zhou said, adding that it may be impossible to contact them.

A miner surnamed Li who is still in the forest told the Global Times that he called the embassy Thursday and is still waiting for help.

"We've been here for six days," Li said. "The military is still patrolling the roads near the mining site."

Miners contacted by the Global Times said conditions are poor in the forest, with many suffering from mosquito and insect bites, as well as food shortages. Some said the military are still hunting for Chinese miners.

A miner surnamed Zhang who is still hiding in Dunkwa told the Global Times that a robbery by the military occurred Thursday night.

"Although high-ranking Ghanaian authorities and the Chinese embassy have requested a stop to the violence beyond mining sites, local officials are still conducting lootings before the order is delivered to the lower level," he said.

Officials from both the embassy and Shanglin government said they cannot confirm the specific number of hiding miners as most of them have problematic IDs and visas.

Miners contacted by the Global Times expressed their wish to return to China. Many said they had received help from local Ghanaian people when hiding from the military.

Zhou, a miner, said he will wait for his five coworkers detained by the Ghana Immigration Service, but he has no idea of how to bail them out as the crackdown left him without any money.

Posted in: Diplomatic Channel, Diplomacy