Maputo — Four people died on Saturday in two separate incidents connected with illegal artisanal mining in Gurue district in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia.
According to the Gurue district administrator, Costa Chirembue, cited in Tuesday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais", police shot dead two illegal miners at Magige, 30 kilometres from Gurue town.
He said the incident occurred when police were trying to prevent illegal mining. An angry crowd then attempted to disarm the police, who opened fire in what Chirembue regarded as an act of self-defence.
Under such circumstances, the police would normally be expected to resort first to non-lethal measures, such as firing into the air, but there are no reports that the police at Magige did this.
Two other deaths occurred at Tetete locality, 60 kilometres from the town. According to the district police commander, Julio Armazem, two people who were digging for precious stones were swept away in a mudslide. A third person survived, but was seriously injured, and is undergoing treatment in Gurue district hospital.