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Tanzania: Two Killed in Mine Invasion

by Jacob MuginiTanzania Daily News
March 4th, 2013

Mara — TWO people were on Saturday killed at the North Mara Gold Mine which is operated by African Barrick Gold (ABG), police have said.

"Examination on the bodies of the deceased at the Tarime District Hospital has just been concluded and it indicates that the lady was shot on her left eye by a bullet which came out of her body through her back and we are still investigating whether the bullet was fired by our officers,' Mr Sabastian Zakaria, a senior police officer at the Tarime special regional police zone said on Sunday afternoon.

But the man was struck by a sharp thing and died shortly after reaching at the district hospital where he was rushed for treatment. The names of the deceased were not immediately made available but according to Mr Zakaria, they were both estimated to be aged between 19 and 20 and were residents of Tarime District.

"One is from Nkende village and another one from Nyabitocho village. I don't have their names here," he noted. The two villages are located several kilometres away from the mine. The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon after about 4,000 people allegedly invaded the mine with the aim of stealing gold sand, according to Mr Zakaria.

"About 4,000 people invaded Gokana mining pit and some of them managed to even make away with gold sand but the situation is now calm and I am heading to the scene ," he said. Anti-riot police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd from the mine for several hours, according to him.

"They also destroyed mine property and evaluation is being made at this time to determine the exact loss," he said. A police officer and a private security guard were also attacked and injured with machetes during the incident, he said.

Tarime/Rorya Special Zone Police Commander (RPC), Mr Justus Kamugisha confirmed the incident, but declined to go into details on grounds that he was on the way to Tarime from Mwanza. "I am on the way from Mwanza and the report on the incident is still being compiled," he said when reached for comment over the phone.

The mine has been experiencing frequent invasions carried out by mostly young men targeting gold sand. The intruders have often been clashing with police officers guarding the mine 24 hours. In 2011 five civilians were shot dead after hundreds of people invaded the mine and clashed with anti-riot police.

The mine is also guarded by private security guards. The Canadian miner is currently setting up a multimillion wall fence at Gokona pit in a bid to boost safety and security in one of the country's largest gold mine located at Nyamongo area.

 

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