Several dead in gold mine clashes on Mali-Guinea border
Several people were killed in clashes between gold miners on the Mali-Guinea border this week, Guinean and Malian officials said Wednesday.
Despite having areas rich in gold, both Guinea and Mali are among the world's poorest countries, with many miners going it alone or in small groups to search for minerals, usually with little safety equipment.
Mali's armed forces said Wednesday that four gendarmes were killed while attempting to secure a mine in Niaouleni, southwestern Mali, on Monday.
"They were victims of gunfire from Guinean nationals linked to a dispute over a mining concession between the Malian village of Niaouleni and another Guinean village," a statement posted on the army's website said.
A Guinean security source told AFP earlier in the day that six people were killed in a revenge attack mounted on the Malian side by Guineans, which took the lives of "two Guineans and four Malians, one of them a gendarme".
The armed Guinean villagers were retaliating against Malian gold miners backed up by gendarmes who "attacked Guinean gold miners at a mine in the village of Faranokho," leaving two Guineans wounded, the same source said.
Bamako and Conakry have both since beefed up security in the area, where such disputes are common.