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Pilot held over massacre in African bush is suspected of murder
A NORTH Yorkshire pilot locked up in an Africa jail after discovering massacred bodies is being held on suspicion of the murders, it has been confirmed.
David Simpson, 24, from Gillamoor, near Kirkbymoorside, was arrested nearly six weeks ago after he found 18 male bodies in remote bush in the Central African Republic (CAR), and has been in jail since.
His family said on their Facebook page today that it had been confirmed that he was being held on suspicion of murder, but they said the launch of a third investigation was a positive step and should see him cleared.
Mr Simpson was seized by the local military alongside his Swedish-born boss Erik Mararv and nine African employees of Cawa Safari, where he works as a hunter and pilot, after he attempted to alert authorities of the bodies. All 11 have been held in jail without charge or explanation since.
Mr Simpson’s brother Paul told The Press he has been in daily contact with David and said he had appeared before court in the CAR on Monday hoping to be released – but was instead told he was being held on suspicion of murder.
Paul told The Press he and his family were initially distraught over the news but have been reassured by David that he believes it is a step in the right direction.
A judge has now ordered a third investigation into the incident after the initial two came back inconclusive.
Paul said: “Under the CAR law they can only hold him for 22 days without trial so he is confident that in that time his innocence will be proved and he can finally come home.
“David has been frustrated that it has just been a waiting game so far – nothing seems as though it has been moving on.
“Now David said he has got something to fight against – and he is sure the investigation is going to prove his innocence.”
Paul said he felt the Foreign Office should be doing more to secure David’s release and said his brother had been trying to keep upbeat but was occasionally “despondent”.
A Facebook page campaigning for Mr Simpson’s release has attracted more than 2,750 members. One, Marie Biltcliffe, said: “David Simpson when you come home and read all these wonderful messages of love and support, it will blow your mind. I am so proud to call you family and I’m really touched how much everyone loves and cares about you.”
David’s father Peter yesterday posted: “David wants you all to know that he is safe, comfortable and confident that this will be resolved soon and thanks everyone for their words of support”.
As previously reported, Mr Simpson, a former pupil of both Ryedale School and Lady Lumley’s School, in Pickering, was with colleagues when he came across three piles of bodies near a gold mine.
The attack is believed to have been carried out by the Lord’s Resistance Army which has committed numerous atrocities in the area.