Archive for the ‘MURDER KILLINGS HOMICIDE’ Category

Four dead after armed robbers storm DRC gold mine in the Congo

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Twangiza-mine-banro image

An armed attack on the Twanziga gold mine in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Tuesday has resulted in four casualties.

Among the dead are three policemen that were guarding the mine and one of the robbers, according to a statement on Banro Corp’s (TSX:BAA) website.

The incident occurred early Tuesday morning and involved an attempt by the seven-member raiding party to break through the gate. Police fired on the robbers, ending the assault. A security guard was also injured during the altercation. No items were stolen and the mine continues to operate normally, Banro said. The attempted break-in was recorded on security cameras and has been reported to authorities. An investigation is underway.

The open-pit mine, which started commercial production in 2012, is one of four gold mines operated by Banro in the DRC. It was expected to produce 110-120,000 ounces in 2016.

According to Reuters the mine has been “plagued by illegal miners squatting on the site and by armed groups, some of the dozens of militias that remain active despite the official end to a regional conflict in 2003.”

Banro’s stock, listed on the Toronto main board, lost 2.27% today to close at 21.5 cents a share.


Henry Sapiecha

China launches massive military manhunt for coal mine killers of almost 100 people

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

china_workers_quarters_room_coal image

An area double the size of Manhattan has been cordoned off as authorities pursue suspects following a coordinated knife attack that killed 60 workers at a northwestern Chinese coal mine, reports the FT.

The incident, first reported by Radio Free Asia, occurred on September 18 in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. After overtaking security guards, the attackers killed the workers while they were asleep in bunkhouses at the Sogan colliery in the city of Aksu. The attackers are alleged to be Uyghur separatists.

The nine suspects, are said to be hiding in  nearby mountains  where a massive military-led operation is now underway:

The helicopters and drones are operating out of the airport at Aksu, the largest city in the area. Police have established checkpoints on all roads leading to Baicheng, which covers an area of about 16,000 sq km. Heavily armed police are posted behind sandbag bunkers at each road block, providing cover for their colleagues who perform identification and weapons checks on all people entering the area.”

Most of the victims were Han Chinese migrant workers, but according to locals five police officers who responded to the attack were also killed. Aksu residents fear the death toll could be as high as 100.

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region suffers from discord due to ethnic fault lines. Uyghurs identify more closely with Central Asian nations.

The FT reports that Xinjiang “has long been a strategic priority for the Chinese government because of its natural resources, including the country’s largest coal reserves, and its proximity to even bigger energy sources in Central Asia.”:

“It is also a key component of President Xi Jinping’s “New Silk Road” strategy, aimed at enhancing Eurasian infrastructure links.”

The area was independent up to 1949 when it became part of China. China has been asserting is control over the area with more westward migration and a heavier military presence.


Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Johannesburg (AFP) – President Jacob Zuma received on Tuesday the official report into the police killing of 34 South African miners in 2012, as rights groups demanded that its findings be quickly made public.

The shooting at the Marikana mine was the worst violence in the country since the advent of democracy in 1994, and evidence at the inquiry tarnished police claims that they had acted in self-defence when they gunned down the striking miners.

In the days before, 10 other people were killed in violence around the platinum mine — including non-striking miners, security guards and two police officers who were hacked to death.

Lawyers for the dead miners’ families blamed the killings on a bout of police revenge, and accused officers of a cover-up.

Zuma, who is visiting Algeria, “will prioritise the consideration of the report on his return”, a statement from his office said, confirming that the document had been received.

But Deprose Muchena, of Amnesty International, said Zuma “must make public the full report as a priority,

“The surviving victims of the tragic events of Marikana and the families of all those who died have a right to receive justice.”

The Marikana Support Campaign group demanded that the report be published within two months, adding that the evidence heard by the inquiry pointed to “some weighty conclusions”.

The presidency made no mention of when it planned to release the report.

Mining house Lonmin was widely criticised during the inquiry for failing to engage with the workers’ wage demands.

It has also been blamed for the murders of its security guards and non-striking miners. The mining house has denied any responsibility.

A cross on a hill pays tribute to the 34 miners killed in 2012 near Lonmin mine in Marikana, in South Africa (AFP Photo/Mujahid Safodien)

A number of the legal teams recommended that senior police officials –- including the former police minister Nathi Mthethwa and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega –- be investigated for murder.

They also argued that Lonmin executives should be charged as accomplices.

But others fingered South Africa’s deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa contacted the ministers of police and mineral resources in the days leading up to the massacre, pushing for police intervention over the strike.

Ramaphosa was not in government at the time, but a non-executive director of Lonmin and a senior leader in the ruling ANC party.

He has maintained he was simply trying to prevent further violence.


Henry Sapiecha


Sunday, May 5th, 2013


Freeport's Indonesian miners end strike, Aussies told to avoid travelling there
Workers at Grasberg mine.

Workers at the Indonesian mine owned by US-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX) returned to work on Friday after a three-day strike over pay, AAP reports.

However the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is warning travellers to take extra care if touring in places close to Freeport’s Grasberg mine, located in the Indonesian province of Papua, on the western half of the island of New Guinea, following rising tensions on the area.

In an update released yesterday DFAT said it had received information that new attacks may be planned near the area of operation at Freeport.

The body said Aussie travellers should reconsider their intentions to visit the region because of the unrest, and attacks earlier this year had already resulted in the death of one Australian.

“Since July 2009, there has been a series of violent attacks in the area around the Freeport Mine in the Papua province,” the Government said.

“Attacks were reported in the area in March and April 2013. Further such attacks could occur.

About 1,100 contract employees stopped work Tuesday at the Grasberg mine — one of the largest gold and copper mines in the world — in the eastern province of Papua.

A three-month strike over wages by thousands of Freeport employees affected output from the mine in 2011 and ended with firm agreeing to a huge pay hike.

However, the company said this week’s strike caused only minimal disruption to the mine’s operations.

Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, August 18th, 2012



MARIKANA, South Africa — President Jacob Zuma rushed home from a regional summit Friday and announced an official inquiry into a police killings of striking miners that left 34 dead and 78 wounded, an incident that police claimed was just self-defense despite video recordings suggesting the protesters were not attacking them but running from clouds of tear gas.

Wives of miners at the Lonmin platinum mine northwest of Johannesburg searched for loved ones missing from Thursday’s shooting and staged a protest, demanding to know why officers fired automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns at the strikers, many of whom had been armed with nothing but spears, machetes and clubs.

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“Police stop shooting our husbands and sons,” read a banner carried by the women on Friday. They kneeled before shotgun-toting police and sang a protest song, saying “What have we done?” in the Xhosa language.

At least 10 other people have been killed during the week-old strike, including two police officers battered to death by strikers and two mine security guards burned alive when strikers set their vehicle ablaze. Tensions remained high Friday among strikers, who are demanding monthly salary raises from $625 to $1,563.

“They can beat us, kill us and kick and trample on us under their feet, do whatever they want to do, we aren’t going to go back to work,” winch operator Makhosi Mbongane told The Associated Press. “If they employ other people they won’t be able to work either. We will stay here and kill them.”

South Africa faces myriad problems 18 years after white racist rule ended, including growing inequality between a white minority joined by a small black elite while most blacks endure high unemployment and inadequate housing, health care and education

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The shootings “awaken us to the reality of the time bomb that has stopped ticking — it has exploded,” The Sowetan newspaper said in a front-page editorial Friday. “Africans are pitted against each other… They are fighting for a bigger slice of the mineral wealth of the country.”

The shootings appalled the country, recalling images of white police firing at anti-apartheid protesters in the 1960s and 1970s, though in this case it was mostly black police firing at black mine workers.

Police said at a news conference that the shootings were in self-defense, noting that strikers possessed a pistol taken from one of the slain officers. But video footage indicates that police shot the miners moments after firing tear gas at the hill the strikers were occupying, causing them to flee.

National police Chief Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega said at news conference that Thursday was a dark day for South Africa and that it was no time for pointing fingers, even as people compared the shootings to apartheid-era state violence and political parties and labor unions demanded an investigation.

Zuma returned home from a summit in Mozambique and announced an official inquiry into the killings, which he called shocking and tragic. The president headed directly to the mine, 70 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, where his office said he would visit injured miners in the hospital.
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Lonmin PLC chairman Roger Phillimore issued a statement Friday saying the deaths were deeply regretted.

Research released by the Bench Marks Foundation, a non-governmental organization monitoring the practices of multinational mining corporations, found that Lonmin had a bad track record with high levels of fatalities and keeping workers in “very poor living conditions.” According to the report released Tuesday, workers often live in deteriorating shacks without electricity. Some children suffer from chronic illnesses due to sewage spills caused by broken drainage.

The mining company said earlier that it would withhold comment on the report until the conflict cooled down.

Shares in Lonmin PLC fell as much as 8 percent Friday. Since violence broke out last weekend at the Marikana mine, shares have fallen by as much as 20 percent, wiping some 390 million pounds ($610 million) off the company’s market value. The company, the world’s third-largest platinum miner, has also been hit by Thursday’s announcement that Chief Executive Ian Farmer is hospitalized with a serious illness.
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On Friday, police investigators and forensic experts combed the scene of the shooting, planting multicolored cones and numbered placards to mark evidence amid the dirt and bushes where the shooting took place. Police also searched the rocky outcropping where thousands of miners had gathered daily to strike.

The South Africa Police Service defended officers’ actions, saying in a statement that they were “viciously attacked by the (strikers), using a variety of weapons, including firearms. The police, in order to protect their own lives and in self-defense, were forced to engage the group with force.”

People gathered at hospitals in the area, hoping to find missing family members among the wounded. At the scrubland scene of the killings, a woman carrying a baby on her back said she was looking for a missing miner.

“My husband left yesterday morning at 7 a.m. to come to the protest and he never came back,” said Nobantu Mkhuze.

While the initial walkout and protest focused on wages, violence has been fueled by the struggles between the dominant National Union of Mineworkers and the upstart and more radical Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.
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NUM secretary-general Frans Baleni has said that some of his union members were on a hit list, including a shop steward killed Tuesday by strikers.

Poor South Africans protest daily across the country for basic services like running water, housing and better health and education. Protests often turn violent, with people charging that leaders of the ruling African National Congress party have joined the white minority that continues to enrich itself while life becomes ever harder for the black majority.

The ANC’s youth wing argues that nationalization of the nation’s mines and farms is the only way to redress the evils of the apartheid past. Zuma’s government has played down those demands.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha