9 November 2012

Tanzania: RPC Warns Mine Intruders as Seven Taken to Court

Photo: Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
Artisanal diamond miners at work in an open-pit mine.

Mara — SEVEN men were arraigned to Tarime District Court for allegedly invading North Mara Gold Mine and causing chaos on Tuesday this week.

Tarime Regional Police Commander (RPC) special police zone Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Justus Kamugisha confirmed the reports to 'Daily News'.

The RPC strongly warned people to stop invading the mine which is operated by African Barrick Gold (ABG) at Nyamongo area of Tarime district in Mara region. "Today seven people were taken to court for invading the mine and causing chaos. I urge people to stop invading the mine and anyone who will be found invading the mine will be arrested and prosecuted ", the regional police chief warned.

On Tuesday a young man was shot dead after hundreds of intruders, mostly young men armed with traditional weapons invaded the mine and clashed with police officers. Some cops were also injured during the latest mine invasion, local media reports quoting ACP Kamugisha saying on Wednesday.

The RPC has described frequent invasions as a disturbing issue at the mine which is guarded by armed police officers 24 hours. ABG, Tanzania's leading gold producer, has also been citing the intrusions as the major challenge facing its operations in the area.

The Canadian miner has been forced to build a walled fence in a bid to boost security at the mine which employs about 1,073 workers and 2,500 more workers employed by local contractors getting tenders from the mine.

ABG is also investing heavily on community development projects in a bid to enhance its relations with the villagers surrounding the mine at the moment. Provision of social services in areas of water, education, health and rural road networks are getting top priority in the villages located near one of the country's largest gold mine.

North Mara Gold Mine was officially inaugurated by retired President Benjamin Mkapa in 2002. Since then the mine has passed under the hands of several giant foreign mining companies.

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