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Barrick Gold Mining Conflict Leaves Two Dead in Perú

La Republica, Peru
May 7th, 2006

Thousands of campesinos from the 18 communities located in the high reaches of the Sechta mountains, location of the Barrick Gold Pierina Mines, protested May 6 to demand investigations and justice after the deaths of two of their members who were killed in a confrontation between police and community members. The incident took place Friday May 5, and left an additional twenty persons seriously injured, among them some policemen.

Joel Martel Castromonte, a 25 year-old agronomy student, and miner Guillermo Tolentino Abat, 42 years old, were shot to death by police, victims of the violence which began when hundreds of community members who work in the extraction of minerals for the mining company Barrick Gold, in the Cordillera Negra hills of Huaraz, gathered in Huallapampa to request an increase of salaries. When company officials denied their request, as a means of protest the community members blocked the access roads to the mines with stones and tree trunks. This action was met with tear gas bombs launched by a police patrol, to which the demonstrators responded by throwing stones.

Barrick Gold sent in a contingent of police.

According to police spokespersons, a total of 30 police agents are employed as security force by the mining company, which since yesterday had suspended operations until security was reestablished. Furthermore, they began negotiations with members of the small villages of Cucasca, Antauran, Mataquita, Atupa, Maraniyoc and Pacollón, in the district of Jancas, province of Huaraz, to try and negotiate the release of six police officers who - according to authorities - were capured and detained by community members during the violent confrontations.

 

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