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Thousands invade gold mine in Mara. One dead.

The Guardian Tanzania
November 9th, 2012

EDITOR'S NOTE: It is important to remember that this area previously supported 50,000 artisanal and small scale miners, who were economically displaced by Barrick's mine.

More than 4,000 people in Tarime District armed with traditional weapons have raided the North Mara Gold Mine (ABG) with the intention of stealing rocks rich in gold, prompting policemen who were on patrol to use weapons to disperse them, killing one person in the process.

The Tarime and Rorya Special Police Zone commander, Justin Kamugisha, named the person killed by the police during the shooting as Chibwa Ghati Muarembera (20), a resident of Kiwanja Village in Tarime District.

The incident occured on Tuesday between 5.00 and 6.00pm. Kamugisha said two police officers injured in the process as G. 8767 PC. Balthazar and G. 7353 PC George, adding that one of them was in hospital.

Kamugisha also said that seven people were being held in connection with the incident.

“The people were armed to the teeth with traditional weapons,” he said, defending the police act.

He called on the people to have respect for the rule of law and avoid taking matters into their own hands.

Incidents of people attempting to invade the mine for the purpose of stealing gold-laden rocks have been happening frequently. In a previous incident over 800 people invaded the mine.

Meanwhile, Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) District Chairperson, Lucas Ngoto, has called on the government to find a solution quickly to end the problem.

“This time the mine was invaded by over 4000 people whereby one of them was killed while last time over 800 people invaded the mine and 5 people got killed, this is very dangerous, immediate solutions must be sought,” said Ngoto.

He advised that since the mine was surrounded by villages, it would be better to compensate the people and move them elsewhere and provide them with better houses.


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