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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
$4m for Zambian air crash families
The Zambian government has been slow to pay compensation and has not said what caused the crash
Victims' families have taken to the streets to protest
The Zambian government has agreed to pay an estimated $4m in compensation to the families of players and officials who died in the 1993 Gabon air crash.

It follows a High Court hearing between the victims families and the attorney general earlier this month.

30 people died - 18 of them players - when a Zambian air force plane crashed into the sea off Gabon while carrying the team to a World Cup qualifier.

The amount of $4m was decided using a complicated formula.

It took account of the earnings each of the victims could have expected during their careers.

Players were assumed to have continued playing to the age of 32.

Long battle

But the compensation package also includes their potential income as coaches up to an age of 55.

Officials were assumed to have remained in office until a similar age, with Football Association of Zambia president Michael Mwape expected to continue until 65.

Edgar Lungu, one of the family lawyers, said the government now had to stand by the agreement and honour the payments.

The families have battled for nine years to get compensation, finally having to take the government to court.

The government may hope the agreement will reduce the pressure on them to release details of the investigation into the disaster.

So far it has refused, claiming the report is incomplete and blaming Gabon for delays in concluding its part of the investigation.

Critics say the government is trying to hide the truth, and there has been speculation that the plane was shot down.

See also:

09 May 02 |  Africa
Zambia coach shakes up squad
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