MAC: Mines and Communities

Eight gold miners murdered in Cauca

Published by MAC on 2010-04-18
Source: Colombia Reports, EFE

Eight gold miners murdered in Cauca

Colombia Reports

8 April 2010

Eight gold miners were shot and killed late Wednesday in the department of Cauca when a group of camouflaged men opened fire on them as they exited the mine.

The mayor of Suarez, the municipality where the incident took place, said that the gunmen had fired indiscriminately upon ten miners who were leaving a gold mine, killing eight, wounding one, and leaving one missing, reports RCN Radio.

Authorities learned of the incident through the testimony of the only known survivor, who said he faked his death to escape.

Crime scene investigators and officials from Colombia's Prosecutor General's office, who have already arrived to the area to recover the bodies and begin their investigation, initially pointed towards the FARC's 30th Front as potential culprits.

However, according to a Colombian military official in the region, the incident appears to be the result of a dispute between local miners. "The forensic team has already arrived and begun their investigation, but we think that this is about a vendetta, about revenge between miners."

Adding to this possible explanation, the mayor of Suarez explained that the dead miners were not from the area, but had come from another area to Suarez due to "gold fever".

Reports suggest that the group of miners had arrived to Suarez a few hours prior to the incident and that they came from the department of Choco.

Bodies of 8 Miners Killed by Rebels Found in Colombia


9 April 2010

BOGOTA - Authorities on Thursday found the bodies of eight miners apparently killed by FARC guerrillas near a gold mine in a mountainous section of the southwestern Colombian province of Cauca, Caracol Radio reported.

A miner who survived the attack by pretending to be dead notified authorities of the killings.

A group of armed men wearing hoods surprised the miners, told them they should not be in the area and opened fire, the eyewitness, who was wounded in the attack, said.

Army troops, police and Attorney General's Office investigators have arrived in Alto de Ovejas, located outside the city of Suarez, where the killings occurred.

The miners were likely killed by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas, officials said.

The miners are not from the area and moved here because of "gold fever," Suarez Mayor Luis Antonio Colorado told Caracol Radio.

The FARC, Colombia's oldest and largest leftist guerrilla group, was founded in 1964, has an estimated 8,000 to 17,000 fighters and operates across a large swath of this Andean nation.

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