MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Weapons Arsenal Of Yanacocha Security Company Seized

Published by MAC on 2006-08-08

Weapons arsenal of Yanacocha security company seized

Living in Peru

8th August 2006

Fifty six military guns were seized by district attorney Alfredo Rebaza at facilities owned by security company “Forza”, in charge of protecting the Yanacocha gold mine in Cajamarca.

Rebaza is investigating the murder of farmer Isidro Chavarría who was killed by three bullet wounds during a confrontation between local protesters, the police and the miner's employees and security guards last Wednesday.

Several AK-47 Kalashnikovs, FAL and German G-3's, 12 handguns, and almost 2,000 rounds of ammunition, were confiscated from the arsenal located on the Yanacocha premises.

Police authorities are trying to find out if the lethal shots were fired by one of those weapons and how the "Forza" company obtained this arsenal of military equipment.

Yanacocha recognized that 47 “Forza” guards were employed to provide security during Wednesday's clash, although they denied that shots were fired from one of these arms and that in fact none of the weapons had even been used in the altercation. Prosecutor Rebaza transferred the arsenal to the police lab in Chiclayo for ballistic tests.

The crackdown was initiated by the National Police under the presence of "Forza" representatives.

On Wednesday, August 2nd, local workers and settlers from Combayo raised a protest by bursting onto the miner's premises, accusing Yanacocha of contaminating the water and not providing enough jobs, among other demands.

The Yanacocha gold mine, owned by USA-based Newmont Mining Company with its headquarters in Denver, Colorado, is located in the hills of Maqui Maqui, Carachugo and Chaquicocha, near the city of Cajamarca in Northwestern Peru.

Isidro Chavarría leaves behind his widow and six children.

Since then hostilities have ceased after local representatives of Combayo -- a community of 18 small villages-- and the Yanacocha mining company agreed on a dialogue to negotiate a better deal for the benefit of the people. One of the first agreements is that the mining company pays for Isidro Chavarría's funeral.

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