7 February 2017

Sudan: Foreign Gold Seekers Cause Unrest - North Darfur Tribesmen

Khartoum — Tribal leaders based in Khartoum confirmed the presence of thousands of foreigners seeking gold and controlling the Jebel Amer mine in North Darfur.

"The area has become chaotic because of the presence of nearly 100,000 people from Chad, Central African Republic, Niger, and Mali," the Omda of the Beni Hussein tribe, Mahmoud Mohamed Bakhit, said. At a news conference on Monday he claimed that the foreigners have caused a spread of weapons and drugs in El Sareif Beni Hussein locality.

He pointed to the proliferation of arms in the area, where police and other regular forces remain absent, and the inability of authorities to secure the border with Libya.

The head of the media bureau of the Beni Hussein tribe in Khartoum, Awad El Daheish added that the health situation in Jebel Amer has deteriorated as a result of the heavy, traditional gold mining done out without modern tools and methods. El Daheish reported the death of "hundreds of people, because of schistosomiasis and measles".

Last month Interior Minister Esmat Abdelrahman demanded the intervention of the army to protect Jebel Amer. He said that the mine is controlled by more than 3,000 people from neighbouring countries.

The area is now under control of Abbala tribesmen. Multiple sources have told Radio Dabanga from El Sareif Beni Hussein that thousands of heavily armed foreigners are mining in Jebel Amer since 2013, and that they smuggle gold out of Sudan to Chad and Libya.

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