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15,000 still working at Darfur gold mine despite ban


A North Darfur authority revealed that over 15,000 people are still working at the Jebel ‘Amer gold mine, despite an official ban. The excavation site, which counted some 60,000 workers, was the source of a deadly conflict between two tribes in January who fought over its control.

Earlier this month, a minister asked miners to temporarily halt their work until after a reconciliation conference takes place on 15 April. However, he warned, authorities would resort to “military measures” against those who refused to leave.

Armed conflicts that erupted in Jebel 'Amer between Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes left some 510 people dead and the UN estimated that over 100.000 were displaced as a result.

North Darfur Urban Planning Minister Al Fateh Abdulaziz Abdulnabi made the announcement about the 15,000 illegal workers after a four-day tour around the mine and Garrah Az Zawia, a village heavily affected by the conflicts.

The minister is also the head of a joint committee assigned to supervise the situation in Al Sareif Beni Hussein locality, where the mine is located, following the conflict in January.

He confirmed the all members of the committee discussed in a series of meetings possible arrangements to address the root causes of the conflicts and to fully normalize the situation.

The temporary closure of the Jebel ‘Amer mine, he explained is intended to create a peaceful atmosphere prior to the reconciliation conference.

Abdulnabi affirmed that recommendations and agreements drafted during the summit would be submitted to the federal and state governments.

This would enable authorities to “take appropriate steps in promoting peace between the Abbala and Beni Hussein and in restoring life in Al Sareif and in neighboring North Darfur localities”.

Related: North Darfur mining to be halted until reconciliation conference (2 April 2013)

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