Mozambican workers seize GermanEmbassy over pay claim

15th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 July 2004 , MAPUTO/BERLIN - The occuption of the German embassy in the Mozambique capital Maputo by a group of ex-contract workers in the now defunct communist East Germany has entered a third day.

15 July 2004

MAPUTO/BERLIN - The occuption of the German embassy in the Mozambique capital Maputo by a group of ex-contract workers in the now defunct communist East Germany has entered a third day.

The group reportedly included about 40 Mozambique nationals, representing in total 11,000 people who used to work on contracts for the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) 20 years ago.

It is understood that the Ambassador, Ulf Dieter Klemm, and his staff are not been held hostage and have continued to undertake routine business at the embassy.

Klemm and other diplomats in the embassy have met with the group after initially abandoning the building when it was seized by the group on Tuesday.

The foreign ministry spokesman said "the ambassador was holding talks with the people inside the embassy and the Mozambique government with the aim of resolving the issue". 

Extra police had been posted outside the embassy.

South African radio said the former migrant workers are demanding that the German government pressure Maputo to release about USD 11 million, a portion of multi-million-dollar funds paid by the GDR to Mozambique as social security payments intended for the workers.

Between 13,000 and 17,000 Mozambican migrant workers were estimated to have worked in East Germany before the fall of communism in 1989/1990.

In the past, there have been repeated demonstrations over the issue. Last year, two people were shot and wounded when the former workers clashed with security forces during protests.

The Mozambican government has paid out about USD seven million to the workers, but they insist they are owed much more.

President Joaquim Chissano last week instructed the labour ministry to address the problem, the South African news agency SAPA reported.

DPA

Subject: German news

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