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Sunday, 28 April, 2002, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Air crash families threaten legal action
Families of the victims demonstrate at Sunday's memorial service
Relatives say they want to know what happened
By BBC Sport Online's Kennedy Gondwe in Lusaka.

The families of the Zambian players who died in the 1993 Gabon air crash have used the ninth anniversary of the disaster to threaten to take the government to the International Court of Justice.

The families' representive Edmond Mutale said on Sunday he was consulting lawyers to see if the action could force the release of the investigative report.

Thirty people died, 18 of them players in the national team, when the Zambian Air Force plane they were in crashed in the sea off Gabon on April 28.


I don't know my dad. I have only heard about my dad through my mum
Timothy Mwitwa Jnr.
But the Zambian government has refused to release details of why the plane went down killing all those on board.

"The families have been very patient but we now feel enough is enough", said Mutale during the memorial service held at Heroes Square.

"Definitely we'll seek the intervention of the International Court of Justice on the matter.

Excuses

"Most of us are living in misery since the deaths of our loved ones but our colleagues in government don't seem to realise that.

"Up to now, we have not been compensated and the report on what caused the accident still remains unreleased", he added.

Timothy Mwitwa Jnr. was born shortly after the disaster
Timothy Mwitwa Jnr. never met his fooballer father
Mutale, whose son Kelvin died in the crash, also bemoaned the absence of government representatives at the memorial service.

"We invited the sports minister but our invitation received a negative answer.

"One is only left to wonder why the minister could not send a representative."

Nine year old Timothy Mwitwa Jnr., who lost his father in the accident, was one of the youngest people at the service.

"I don't know my dad. I have only heard about my dad through my mum", he said.

Last month Zambia's vice-president told parliament that he blamed Gabon for the delay, claiming they had yet to complete their part of the investigation.

On Friday President Levy Mwanawasa said the report had been received by his office, but did not elaborate.

See also:

16 Apr 02 |  Other News
Crash prompts World Cup fears
Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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