20 January 2014

Tanzania: Thousands Raid Tanzanian Gold Mine, Clash With Police

One person was killed in clashes between police and thousands of villagers who stormed a gold mine in Tanzania operated by the African subsidiary of Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold Corporation, AFP reported Saturday (January 18th).

Around 2,000 people armed with machetes, stones and hammers raided the North Mara gold mine in northern Tanzania on Friday looking to seize its gold, regional police commander Justus Kamugisha said, adding that the incident left one attacker dead and a policeman wounded.

Television images of the incident showed men and women picking up rocks inside the mine, then scattering as police fired tear gas.

Clashes are common between local residents and security officers at the mine. Police say five people were killed there in May 2011 during clashes between police and hundreds of villagers. In May 2012, security officers at the mine killed a man while fending off another raid.

This time, however, some of the citizens involved in the raid came from distant counties as well as neighbouring countries, Kamugisha said according to Tanzania's Daily News.

"Like a few days ago, we arrested five intruders and three of them were from the neighbouring country," he said.

In addition, earlier this month, three intruders died at the mine in confrontations with police officers. "Some of them dropped into the pit and died and one was killed by his colleagues with machetes," he said, describing intrusions at the mine as one of the critical issues facing police in the region.

The mining company says it is taking steps to eliminate intrusions at the mine this year, including investing in sustainable income-generating projects targeting hundreds of local youths.

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