Zambia releases 31 Chinese detainees; sends them packing

Over the weekend, Zambia detained 31 Chinese nationals for illegal mining in the African country’s copper belt on the basis of illegal mining.

Lin Songtian, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s director-general for African affairs, told a Zambian diplomat in Beijing that China understands and supports actions to crack down on illegal mining. He also urged Zambia to release the detainees.

China’s foreign ministry on her part said Zambia didn’t implement correct law enforcement procedures and hasn’t put forth strong backings to the action.

Among the 31 Chinese detained are a pregnant woman and two  malaria patients, Lin said.​

 Zambia agreed to release the 31 detainees on condition that they leave the country.

It should be noted that in 2003, it was revealed that Zambia loses about $30 million every year to illegal mining activities.

By Mesumbe Neville

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