DAR ES SALAAM, May 17 – Clashes between hundreds of villagers and police at a gold mine left five people dead in northwest Tanzania, police said Tuesday.
Tarime zone police commander Constantine Massawe said the incident occurred Monday when several hundred villagers invaded the North Mara Gold Mine, owned by Canada\’s Barrick, in an attempt to steal sand, stones and other property.
"It is estimated that there were between 800 and 1,000 people who charged towards the mine\’s area. They did not stop after police and guards fired the blanks or in the air," Massawe said.
"Police were forced to use live bullets after the villagers started attacking them using machettes and throwing rocks," he told AFP.
In addition to the fatalities, at least 10 people were injured in the riot, including seven policemen.
The mine is an open pit gold mine in the Tarime District of Mara Region, approximately 100 kilometres east of Lake Victoria and 20 kilometres south of the Kenyan border.
African Barrick Gold, which owns the North Mara mine, is majority owned by Barrick of Canada and is quoted on the London Stock Exchange.