Tarime — Police have dispersed protesters in Tarime District who were marching to the Acacia's North Mara mine to reportedly demand compensation for their land.
Tarime Special Police Zone Commander Henry Mwaibambe said security personnel dispersed the demo as they had no prior knowledge from the organisers.
The police chief said today's demo was a continuation of a string of protests from residents demanding their names in a list of people who are due for compensation by the mine.
Protests against Acacia in Tarime appear to have increased since the dispute with the government which has banned the mining company from exporting its copper concentrates from March this year. Unlike Acacia owned Buzwagi and Bulyankulu gold mines, North Mara mine is unaffected by the ban.
Barrick Gold, the parent company of Acacia is currently in talks with the government to unlock the export ban and also settle other claims running into billions of shillings that have been raised against it. In Tarime, two area members of parliament from the opposition John Heche and Esther Matiko were briefly arrested last week and questioned over alleged incitement.
Mr Mwaibambe explained today's protest was illegal and had to be stopped. "I had no word from the protesters today, so we had to disperse them," he said, adding that all issues related to the welfare of the claimants was handled by the local District Commissioner Glorius Luoga who was not available for comment.
Two months ago protesters stormed North Mara mine in pursuit of gold but police managed to repulse the raiders and arrested 60 people who are still in remand prison.