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North Mara’s message to government

by Beldina Nyakeke The Citizen (Tanzania)
May 17th, 2011

Tarime. Relatives of people who were shot dead by police at Barrick North Mara gold mine have refused to take their bodies for burial until the government assures them on its plans to end calamities of that nature once and for all.
Speaking here yesterday, they said that they were tired of the recurrence of such incidents in which their relatives have been losing their lives.

“We want to live in peace,” one of the relatives chanted outside the Tarime district commissioner’s office where they had gathered.They vowed not to bury their relatives until they know what the government was going to do to address the recurring situation.They added that they lacked funds to finance the burial ceremonies and asked the government support them.

Mr Lucas Ngoka, one of the relatives of the deceased said that they were tired of the killings, which have been taking place at the area for many years. “Time has come for the government to take action and end these senseless killings,” he said.

He warned that if the government decided to be silent on the matter the relatives of the dead would ignore the bodies.  He said that for a long time police have been using excessive force whenever conflicts erupted between wananchi and the investor, even though the primary objective of the Police Force is to safeguard people and their properties, and not otherwise.

Another relative, Mr Job Chacha, said the death of people living around the mine should be blamed on the government which they claimed has taken their major sources of income from them.He explained that the entire area that produces gold has been privatised and given to big investors, leaving small miners with nothing. The situation, he said, had forced them to look for alternative ways of making ends meet.

The Tarime/Rorya special police zone commander, Mr Constantine Massawe, said that the Police Force was still investigating the incident.He revealed that yesterday at 6am another group of people armed with crude weapons tried again to get into the mining area using force but the police managed to stop them.

On Monday five people, alleged intruders, were shot dead by police at Barrick North Mara gold mine while three others were injured.

The deceased have been named as Emanuel Magige, 27, a resident of Nyakunguru Village; Chacha Mwasi, 25, a resident of Bisalu Village; Chacha Ngoka, 26, a resident of Kewanja Village in Tarime District and Chawali Bhoke, 26, a resident of Bonchugu Village; Mwikwabe Marwa, 35, a resident of Ketongoro Village in Serengeti District.

The injured, who were admitted at the Tarime District Hospital before being referred to Bugando Hospital in Mwanza, were Frank Joseph, 20, Mwikwabe Mwita, 30, and Samuel Nyangare.

 

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