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12 Sudanese gold prospectors killed in Chad

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Gold mine workers wait to get their raw gold weighed at a gold shop in the town of Al-Fahir in North Darfur on September 24, 2013. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

December 26, 2017 (N’DJAMENA) - Twelve Sudanese traditional gold prospectors have been killed and seventeen others injured on Monday by gunmen in Chad on the border with Libya.

Eyewitnesses told Sudan Tribune Tuesday that Chadian gunmen on 10 four-wheel-drive vehicles attacked Sudanese gold prospectors in gold mines in Karry area in Chad, saying 12 were killed and 17 injured while 8 others went missing.

They added the injured have been transferred to Libya for treatment, saying the missing gold prospectors were likely being taken by the gunmen to an unknown destination.

The native leader from Kutum area, some 60 km north-west of El-Fasher, North Darfur capital Mohamed al-Tahir Issa said more than 6 families received news about their members who have been attacked in the incident.

He added relatives of 3 gold prospectors told their families of the death of their sons while the fate of the rest of the group is unknown due to a poor telecommunication network in the area.

The eyewitnesses pointed out that the incident is the second of its kind during the past three months, saying a similar attack in the same area last September claimed one life and injured two.

In August 2016, Mauritania deported 100 Sudanese miners who had sneaked into its territory illegally.

Sudan’s consul in Chad’s city of Abeché, Omer al-Farouk Mohamed, in May 2015 said they evacuated 3250 out of 10,000 Sudanese gold prospectors from Chad and Niger in 2014, pointing to the danger posed by the presence of the miners in those countries.

He added the countries in which Sudanese prospectors are working suffer from conflicts and security problems, pointing to the crisis in Libya and the violent attacks of the Islamic group Boko Haram in Niger besides tensions in western Chad.

Gold has become one of Sudan’s largest exports which partially compensated for the loss in oil revenues, which accounted for more than 50% of income until 2011 when South Sudan seceded, thus taking with it most of the country’s oil reserves.

It is believed that traditional mining employs more than a million Sudanese but it is still difficult to obtain credible data.

(ST)

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