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N'DJAMENA: New clashes between rival groups of gold miners in northern Chad have left "dozens" dead, just days after fighting there killed at least 30 people, security and mining sources said on Wednesday.

Renewed fighting in the Kouri Bougoudi gold-rush region near the Libyan border erupted over Monday and Tuesday between groups of Arabs from Libya and miners from Chad's Ouaddai community, the sources said.

No immediate confirmation was available on the exact death toll, but at least two sources said the toll was in the "dozens".

Chadian soldiers intervened to calm the situation, according to one security source, but both communities blamed each other for the violence.

One Arab from the area said the clashes erupted after the kidnapping of a young Arab by the Ouaddai community last week.

At least 30 miners died and 200 were wounded in clashes between Thursday and Saturday when Arab fighters, crossing from Libya, attacked miners in the far north of Chad.

Abdul Aziz Youssouf Mustapha, a Ouaddai community rights activist, said Arabs had attacked Ouaddais and all other non-Arabs in Kouri Bougoudi.

But Chadian Arab community activist Albissaty Saleh Allazam dismissed as "ridiculous" claims Arabs had attacked other groups.

Kouri Bougoudi, in the far north, has been the scene of clashes among rival ethnic, local and foreign groups since 2012 and 2013 after the discovery of gold deposits there.

The Chadian government has authorised mining companies to exploit deposits, but rights groups accuse authorities of using Arab fighters to orchestrate a takeover of the area.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2019
 

 

 

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