MINING company Société Minière de Bisunzu (SMB), on Wednesday, said three people had been killed and three others injured in a grenade attack on its coltan mine in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
SMB’s mine near Rubaya in North Kivu province has seen an increase in violent clashes between local artisanal miners and mine police.
“Two policemen were targeted in Tuesday night’s grenade attack, which was followed by gunfire,’’ SMB said.
It noted that in the ensuing incident three people died and three, including one policeman, were hurt and taken to hospital.
“SMB emphatically denounces and condemns these attacks which it continues to be a victim of,” the company management said in a statement.
It added that a similar attack on June 14 had targeted mine police. A lawmaker from the area, Safari Ayonbangira, told Reuters that the death toll from the incident had risen to four.
Earlier this month, Congo experts commissioned by the United Nations published a report saying that coltan, the tantalum-rich ore produced on the SMB concession, was being smuggled out of the mine by diggers and sold elsewhere.
It was not immediately clear whether the three who died in the incident were artisanal miners. The local artisanal mining cooperative COOPERAMMA did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The cooperative has previously accused SMB police of using excessive force in several deadly incidents. (Reuters/NAN)
– Jun. 24, 2020 @ 16:55 GMT |