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Tanzanian police confirm MPs' arrest at mine clash funeral

Omoo/Open access

Tanzanian police said Wednesday they had arrested two MPs from the main opposition party, Chadema, while they attended the funeral of villagers killed in clashes at a gold mine.


The arrests took place on Monday in the north-west of the country where the North Mara mine is located.

Police identified the two as Tundu Lissu and Esther Matiko and said they had used the incident at the mine to disturb public order.

Chadema, which accuses the police of having used "excessive force" against the several hundred villagers who raided the North Mara mine on 16 May.

The party says the two MPs had wanted to "show solidarity with the families who were in mourning".

North Mara is owned by African Barrick Gold, a London Stock Exchange-quoted unit of Canada's Barrick.

Police say that about 500 locals, armed with traditional weapons, invaded the mine on 9 May and clashed with police and security officers.

Company officials say at least 300 locals trespass on the mine's license areas every day to carry out illegal mining activities. They often clash with security and police.

The company said seven people died in the clashes. Police put the toll at five.

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