African Barrick Gold’s North Mara mine

At least one person was shot dead following scuffles that ensued on Friday between the police and nearly 200 people who invaded the North Mara Gold Mine in Mara region operated by African Barrick Gold(ABG), Tanzania.

According to Acting Mara Regional Police Commander (RPC) Sebastian Zacharia, the deceased was one of the intruders who forced their way to the mines throwing stones to the police, threatening to use their pangas in defiance of the evacuation order by the police.

“On Friday at around 11am, groups of enraged residents armed with traditional weapons ventured into the gates of Nyambiram gold pit. This is situated a few kilometres from the company’s major gold processing plant,” Zacharia explained.

Despite firing of dozens of tear gas canisters to scare the intruders, they kept pushing their way resulting to the firing of a live bullet that hit the deceased on the neck and died. The name of the deceased was not immediately identified but his body was taken to Tarime District Hospital mortuary for preservation pending burial arrangements.

There were no immediate report of casualties in the latest mine raid. Scores of security personnel led by Regional Crime Officer (RCO) were until on Friday evening monitoring the situation at the scene trying to calm the situation. North Mara Gold Mine is Tanzanian leading gold producer and it has been experiencing frequent raids related to forceful collection of goldladen sand in the past few years.

But the raids went down in the recent months after the current general manager, Mr Basie Maree, worked out strategies to normalize relations between the mine and the local communities. Local leaders and ordinary people have always been hailing Mr Maree, saying that he is the first general manager to show commitment that seek to end recurrent conflicts between the mine and the surrounding villagers.

Mr Maree has so far worked at the mine for less than a year and has initiated several programmes meant to improve social services in the surrounding villages with areas of road, water and education getting top priority.

By MUGINI JACOB, Tanzania Daily News

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