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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Tanzanite One: Miners from Manga attacked our workers

29th August 2012

Tanzanite One Mining Limited yesterday clarified on the allegations that it invaded neighbouring small scale mining blocks and assaulted unsuspected miners, saying it was miners from Manga Gems company who attacked its employees.

According to its statement availed to The Guardian yesterday, on August 24 an illegal mine development from block D hauled into Tanzanite One mine shaft located within the block C license area of the company.

It said the illegal miners allegedly from Manga Gems (L) Ltd attacked Tanzanite One employees and also shot at its employees and the police.

An inspector from the Zonal Mines Office and the Company employees had to flee for safety after one of several homemade explosives devices were thrown at them by illegal miners on Sunday morning.

The statement further said that the company had already opened a police case number MRM/RB/183/2012 against Manga Gems (L) Ltd for illegally mining into its property and criminal trespass.

The company has all the evidence to prove that it was working approximately 75m from the boundary with block D within its own license area when its workers were attacked.

The company also said that Collin Martin was not involved in the incident as reported and was confirmed by the policemen present underground at the time of the incident.

Media reports yesterday said gunfire erupted some 465 metres below ground level at the Tanzanite One mine site on Saturday, severely injuring some people, one of them fatally.

The chaos is reported to have been unleashed after security guards with the mining company Tanzanite One led by their head Collin Martin, purportedly invaded the Manga Gems (T) Ltd mine and assaulted the unsuspecting miners in what may have been retaliation to apparently an earlier invasion of their mine.

"We were working in our area … we were caught unawares and by total surprise… they attacked us…” Mbaruku, General Manager with Manga Gems (T) Ltd accused his company’s rival and also identified the injured miners as Fidelis Kefas, Peterson Richard, Remmy Manga, Kiberenge Laizer and Mahadhi Salum.

Assistant Manager with Manga Gems (T) Ltd Athuman Miraji said the incident was not the first and that it is, as he put it, intentional, repeated and systematic intimidation to scare them off or slow them down.

Manyara Regional Police Commander, Akili Mpwapwa confirmed reports of the incident and ongoing dispute between the two companies saying police were still investigating the matter. “So far, nobody has been arrested in connection with the incident…we’re still investigating…” he said.

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