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S Africa bosses flee mine captors

By on July 11, 2009

All five South African mine bosses held hostage underground at a platinum mine have been freed.

_46040544_mining-hostage-pic Eastern Platinum confirmed to the BBC that they had been rescued after lengthy negotiations with the police. About 500 miners seized eight supervisors at the Crocodile River Mine on Thursday, demanding permanent jobs. Three fled overnight. The workers are still underground and are refusing to leave the mine. Police are monitoring the situation.

Canadian-owned Eastern Platinum could not reveal what condition the latest detainees were in, but said there were no other hostages underground.

The managers had been kept 30 metres underground, without water or food.

The protesting miners work for two contractors, Sindile Mining and JIC Mining Services, Eastern Platinum said, but they want to be directly employed by the mine.

‘Depressed’

The section of the mine where the hostages were held has been closed since Thursday and employees have been vacated.The first group to escape were unharmed but needed some medical attention and counselling, the AFP news agency reports.

Police spokesman Lesego Metsi told AFP the managers “were very cold, hungry and depressed when they came up but they did not have any physical injuries”.

Two more fled on Friday before the final group was rescued.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), whose other members are currently engaged in a nationwide strike which has put the brakes on all 2010 World Cup construction in South Africa, has reportedly condemned the miners’ actions.

BBC.

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