The China Railway Seventh Group Sierra Leone Company has blamed the fight that ensued between a Chinese National and a Sierra Leonean on the Sierra Leonean Safety Officer.
The Company has however released a preliminary statement and promised to give an official statement later on in the local media on the said incident.
In the statement released by the company, they explained that it was the safety officer’s fault for the fight as he did not inform the project management of CRSG before conducting the safety training and the training was affecting the day’s work output.
The statement furthered stated that it was the safety officer that first hit the Chinese National which caused the reaction in the video.
Below is the complete statement from the China Railway Seventh Group (SL) Co.
A Preliminary Statement on June 8, 2021, Physical Conflict IncidentBetween Chinese Personnel and Sierra Leonean Personnel at the CRSGRepair Shop
In the morning of June 8, the Sierra Leonean Mining Association (SLMA)’s liaison personnel and a safety officer employed by Kingho visited the CRSGrepair shop to conduct training for workers. The SLMA did not inform the project management of CRSG before conducting the training. After the SLMA Liaison personnel and the safety officer entered the repair shop directly, they verbally communicated with the CRSG safety officer that they wanted to conduct safety training for the repair shop workers. And the CRSG safety officer agreed that a short safety introduction could be conducted without interrupting the work arrangements of the day. However, from 7:40 am until8:05am, there was no sign of the training being completed. During this time, a large amount of equipment in the mining area was waiting to be refueled and repaired, and the day’s work had not yet begun. In order not to affect the production too much, CRSG staff first tried to communicate with the liaison personnel of the SLMA, indicating that it was getting late and they needed to start work. And when they didn’t get any reply, they showed the time to the safety officer and tried to express that the work-time was tight and they wanted to finish the safety introduction as soon as possible. Due to the language barrier, during the argument, the safety officer first hit the CRSG Chinese employee in the mouth (not shown in the video). The Chinese employee was irritated after being hit and used his hand to knock over the safety officer’s folder, which led to the physical altercation shown in the video. After the CRSG Chinese employee showed signs of being stopped by the local employee, the safety officer still kicks the CRSG Chinese employee, who was almost 60 years old. The safety officer picked up a rock and tried to use it to hit again, but drop it after the rest of the CRSG Chinese employees arrived(not shown in the video), After the confrontation, this safety officer tried to drive away from the site, but the front gate was closed and he was unable to do so until CRSG project manager and Kingho manager arrived at the scene of the incident.
CRSG expresses its regret for the occurrence of this incident. Under the current friendly environment between China and Sierra Leone, such incidents should always be avoided. CRSG has been in Sierra Leone for many years and has undertaken a large number of high-quality engineering projects in Sierra Leone such as the LUN-POTO LOKO road and the JUBA Bridge.CRSG’s outstanding performance in helping fight the Ebola (2014), assisting in the landslide incident (2017), and emergency repair process of Savage Bridge(2020) demonstrate that it is a company that shoulder responsibilities and enjoys recognition by the Sierra Leonean government and people. Over the years, it has maintained the scale of more than 1,000 local employees per year, providing a large number of employment opportunities for the people of Sierra Leone.
The conflict between Chinese staff and local staff in the repair shop was an unexpected and isolated case that did not represent the behavior or attitude of the management of CRSG and Kingho. After the incident, the person in charge of CRSG has taken necessary measures against the Chinese employees involved by criticizing his inappropriate behavior and has educated and required all the Chinese employees to abide by the laws and regulations of the country so that similar conflicts will no longer occur.
CRSG has noticed that there are video clips currently circulating on social media. CRSG will make a formal statement on the matter through the local online media and TV stations tomorrow.