Safari company accused of African miners’ murder

Workers from a professional hunting company in the Central African Republic have been charged with the murder of 13 miners.

Swedish national Erik Mararv and the rest of his employees at Central African Wildlife Adventures were charged "with murder on Thursday and remanded in custody in Bangui's central N'garagba prison where they were being held," CAR police official said, according to the Courier Mail.

The group was detained last month after they reportedly discovered the bodies of 13 miners in the country's north east province.

The men are believed to have been found with their hands bound behind them and were beaten to death, police 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 police official said.

However, according to The Telegraph, the group had been arrested after reporting the discovery of the bodies, with the Daily Mail reporting that the official police reports are based solely on hearsay.

"Some of the local people have attempted to frame the men because they were not allowed to poach on the firm’s land or because the company did not employ them, or because they have been fired," an unnamed source stated. 

According to one of the charged foreign national's family, the Safari company workers were detained by officials to obtain bribes.

"The justice minister told us they could be free for €1 million ($1.28 million)," the father of one of the British men said.

"It's a joke. They see white people and think we are the money tree. Either that or just really odd creatures."

The bodies of the murdered miners were not recovered from the jungle.

If convicted, the arrested men face the death penalty.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.