|Angry Nyamongo villagers attack MP|
Govt forms team to probe deaths
The Guardian (Tanzania)
May 19th, 2011
Angry Nyamongo villagers yesterday pelted the Tarime Member of Parliament, Nyambari Nyangwine (CCM) and journalists with stones near North Mara Gold mine, the scene of bloody clashes earlier this week.
The MP and journalists had gone to pay condolences to the relatives who lost their brethren in the Monday fight.
More than 1000 villagers invaded the gold mine on Monday, with the aim of taking away pieces of rock containing gold, but were beaten back by the police and the mine’s security guards who killed five of them.
In yesterday’s attack on the MP and journalists, vehicles were stoned by villagers, preventing the MP from addressing a public rally.
The Tarime District Council Chairman, Amos Sagara was also a victim.
Narrating, Nyangwine said he had wanted to address the villagers at Kewanja grounds, but upon arrival, a group of more than 100 youths emerged, demanding that the MP’s delegation take off their party uniforms.
Nyangwine said the youths suddenly started pelting them with stones. He said that his six guards fought back in self defence, but could not overwhelm them.
The vehicles which were badly damaged are STK 8411 property of the district education department, a Toyota RAV4 registered T 299 ASW and T 239 DNW.
“The villagers should refuse to be used by politicians. They were pushed to invade North Mara mine and attack public officials. Our visit was well intentioned…..but some politicians took advantage of the disaster. This is not right,” he said.
Nyangwine said he wanted to discuss with the villagers the frequent killings occurring in nearby villages. He said most of villagers haven’t been paid compensation while others were demanding for plots for small miners and yet others were complaining of lack of employment.
The MP said the government plans to form a committee of ordinary citizens, village and government leaders, elders and North Mara Barrick owners to probe the conflict.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) has meanwhile dispatched a team of senior police commanders and officials to Nyamongo village to investigate the killing of the five residents and factors behind increased hostility between the investors and small scale miners.
Deputy Home Affairs Minister, Ambassador Hamis Kagasheki yesterday confirmed the deployment of high-level police team to the area where the mine owned by Barrick Gold is located.
Paulo Chagonja, the Commissioner of Operations is one of the high-profile police officials deployed to Nyamongo village to investigate the deaths and increasing hostility between the investors and small-miners, Kagasheki told a press conference in Dar es Salaam.
He said the ministry of Energy and Minerals has also deployed a team of experts and officials to the village.
“Both teams (police and energy ministry) will talk to the families of people who lost their lives during the fracas pitting security guards and intruders. They will investigate factors related to increased insecurity and long-standing misunderstandings between investors and small miners, and chart out solutions to these problems,” said the minister.
“They will also educate the villagers on the negative impact of the conflicts to them, the government and the nation,” he added.
However Kagasheki said the government has banned a demonstration by an opposition party he did not name to protest the killing of five residents.
Already the African Barrick Gold plc issued a statement saying those killed were among 800 people who illegally entered the North Mara mine.
The statement said that FFU were called to the area to respond to the intrusion but were attacked by the criminal intruders armed with machetes, rocks and hammers. Additional policemen have been deployed to the area.
“African Barrick Gold sincerely regrets any loss of life or injury on or near its mine sites,” reads part of the statement.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN