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Fuente: 05/06/06

Police accused of protecting Barrick's security guards


By Makubo Haruni, Tarime

Police in Tarime District, Mara Region, have been accused of protecting security personnel at a gold mining company in the neighbourhood.

The accusations against the police were made by Nyangoto villagers following the death of Claver Yohana, 27, a taxi driver.

According to the villagers, the death was the third in a month, but the culprits involved in security skirmishes are left to escape scot-free.

On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of villagers marched to the gold firm’s premises protesting the shooting incident which allegedly killed Yohana.

According to local government chairman, Ayubu Lugoye, a security guard with North Mara Mine identified by only one name as ’Kadume’, is suspected to have shot Yohana dead.

He said they (villagers) carried the coffin bearing the body of Yohana to the premises of the company, demanding that legal action be taken against him.

’’We are sick and tired of these brutal murders. We want higher authorities to act against the killers who are apparently protected by people who break the law at will,’’ complained Lugoye.

During the procession, the anti-riot police prevented the villagers from reaching the offices of the company. They fired shots in the air to contain any possible confrontation. One villager was hit in the leg.

It was alleged that Yohana’s body was dumped at Nyangoto Police Post, before it was whisked to Tarime District Hospital without the knowledge of his next of kin.

Contacted, Mara Regional Police Commander (RPC) Kapita Mwarika said he was not in a position to comment as was on his way to the area where the incident took place.

But the Tarime District Commissioner, Pascal Mabiti, said the police are better-placed to comment on the death. At the time of going to Press, it was reported that the suspects are in police custody.

On her part, the Public Relations Manager of Barrick Tanzania, owners of North Mara Mine, Sauda Kilumanga said it was deep regret that the company was facing security breaches which has resulted into a number of tragic incidents.

”The latest incident occurred in the early hours of last Friday when a group of intruders were disturbed by the police and security forces on our site. Intruders had in their possession a large number of containers.

In a nearby location devices for removal of fuel and 12-fourty-litre containers were found, eleven of them full of fuel. An eight-meter long hose pipe was also found near the facility,” Kilumanga said.

She said while apprehending the intruders the police and security personnel came under attack, four warning shots were fired to no avail by Chacha, the security personnel and unfortunately the final defence shot was fired at the intruder.

’’One attacker was upon Chacha with a panga who in self defence was forced to fire a round at the hip of the intruder.

Six people were arrested in connection with the incident and police investigations are ongoing,’’ she said.

She said the mine is cooperating closely with Regional Security Personal and the local leaders to harmonize and deal with matters on the ground.

* SOURCE: Guardian