Vale massacre in Africa
Monday, September 3, 2012
Labor disputes and policies involve Vale massacre in Africa
Labor, ethnic and political disputes around a Brazilian name involved ore Valein a massacre of civilians in Zogota, in forest region of N ‘ zérékoré, Guinea, on the West coast of Africa. The crime happened on August 4, when the military police attacked leaders of a movement that was labor. In the clash with Government forces, six protesters died.
The story is Andrei Neto and Youssouf Bah and published by the newspaper O Estado de s. Paulo, 9/2/2012.
The UN sent a team to the region and told the State that a report with the investigation of the case is about to be completed. What the UN already knows is that the case began with a protest from residents of Zogota against It because of the company’s hiring policy.
Zogota mine is part of an ambitious project and risky of the Vale, located in the Sierra de Simandou -treated by the company as a new Carajás. The right of exploitation was purchased for $ 2.5 billion, but Vale has invested only $ 500 million so far and evaluates whether it will take the project forward.
Called in case Africa Zogota-Valley, the conflict began before the crimes. The friction of residents with the direction of the company trailed along had months. On 30 July, the protests from inhabitants of the mining region of Zogota, in the southeast of the country, against the GBV-Vale BSGR Limited, a joint venture of the Vale with the BSG Resources, Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz -intensified.
On 1 August, there was a first major incident: demonstrators raided the premises of the company, paralysed the activities, destroyed furniture, looted equipment and threatened staff. They were protesting against the alleged non-compliance, on the part of the Vale, a labour Convention signed with the Government of Guinea in exchange for the exploitation of the ore in the region.
The agreement provides that the mining companies that install themselves in the country need to hire a minimum percentage of labor of local ethnic groups-in this case, the Guerzé and Tomas.
The Valeclaims to hire employees Guineans in percentage required (read text below), but community members, egged on by political leaders, themselves harmed by the company, which would not respect the ethnic division of the country. The case is not the first of its kind in the region, where the local Simfer, a subsidiary of anglo-Australian Rio Tinto, also faced the hostilities.
With incidents of 1 August, however, the climate among employees of the Vale and the local population has become even more tense. On 3 August, a Government delegation led by Minister of mines, Mohamed Lamin Fofana, went to the region in vehicles supplied by GBV -what Is confirmed, to try to calm tempers and to reach an agreement.
But, around 1:0 of early the next day, police and militia have returned to the village, invading some of the 300 houses of Zogota looking for leaders of the movement, one of the 2 thousand inhabitants of the village.
There were violent shocks, using tear gas and firearms by the forces of order. Five people were killed in the clash and a sixth died in hospital days after, supposedly as a result of injuries.
Among the dead was the head of the district, Nankoye Kolé. According to his wife, to survive the attack, many residents took refuge in the forest. “We heard the sound of the shots for about two or three hours,” said N ‘ iankaye Kolé, the journalist of Guinea Youssouf Bah, sent to the region by the State. “When the shots stopped, we went out of the House and told me that my husband had been killed.”
The deaths shocked the Guinea and led to revolt against the military and political authorities and also against the direction of the company, accused by local leaders have pointed to those suspected of leading the movement. Loua Lafin, head of Maoun district, seven miles from Zogota, goes further. In testimony to Youssouf Bah, he accused the company of having provided the vehicles that would have been used to attack the demonstrators, and not just to carry the ministerial mission-What Is emphatically denies.
In the early hours of the events, he counts have been agreed by a young man sent by District Deputy Chief Zogota to inform him of the massacre. “Five vehicles used by military forces were from the Valley,” said Loua. “We accuse the Valley have allowed military forces use their jeeps in attack on Zogota.”
The version of Loua is reaffirmed by other witnesses from the village, also in testimony the Youssouf Bah. Antoine Kolé, activist who lost a nephew in the massacre, reiterated the complaint. “I saw five jeeps of VBG full of troops carrying weapons late at night,” he says.
The Vale denies this accusation. “The Government of Guinea has asked the VBG cession cars for Ministers who visited the site invaded on August 3,” the company said in text sent to the State. “There were ceded cars for military transport.”
Dissatisfaction with the murders won the regional capital, N ‘ zérékoré, and soon turned the case into a national scandal. Community leaders, opposition politicians and some non-governmental organisations accuse the Government of Guinea had acted in the interests of GBV. The Brazilian company, as well as other multinationals, withdrew its personnel from the region.
The complaints have mobilised the Guinean Organization for defense of human rights (LIPOAMIDE), which protested against the killings and demanded the opening of an investigation. With the negative repercussion, the President of Guinea, Alpha Condé, ordered the opening of an investigation and departed the mayors of regions of N ‘ zérékoré, Sanoussy Hassan, and Siguiri, Aboubacar Sidiki Kaba -what did grow rumours that behind the conflict with the Valley would be political struggles involving the massacre.
Members of a crisis Committee formed in Zogota around the survivors also are protesting the presence of GBV in the region and against five Ministers. Since the massacre, the country lives in political conflict, driven by legislative elections approaching. On Monday, residents protest Zogota and N ‘ zérékoré was banned by local authorities.