The Barrick Files 5



Open letter to the president of Tanzania on the deaths of miners at Bulyanhulu on the opening of the mine by Barrick Corporation 16 July 2001


Key sections translated from the Swahili:

" That on October 5, 1995, KMCL (Kahama Mining Corp. Ltd., Barrick's subsidiary) lodged a notice of appeal with the Court of Appeal of Tanzania challenging the decision of the High Court. However, for reasons that have never been clear to this day, on May 22, 1996, KMCL, through their lawyers, withdrew the notice of appeal, remaining with the case in the High Court. What is known, however, is that soon after they withdrew their notice of appeal, news reports appeared that the government had decided to evict the small-scale miners inspite of the suit against them remaining undecided by the High Court of Tanzania (see The East African, ‘Company to Evict 7,000 Illegal Miners’ which quoted the then Minister of water, Energy and Minerals, Dr. William Shija as saying that the miners would have been forcibly evicted from Bulyanhulu between July and August of that year)...”

" That on 30 July, 1996, Minister Shija called a press conference in Parliament Buildings in Dodoma in which he ordered the small-scale miners to leave Bulyanhulu within one month (see "Government Orders Out Bulyanhulu Miners", Daily News, Wednesday, July 31, 1996; and "Government orders those in Bulyanhulu mines to leave", Mtanzania, Wednesday, July 31, 1996).

That same afternoon and immediately after Radio Tanzania broadcast the order, the then Shinyanga regional Commissioner Major General Tumainieli Kiwelu called a public meeting at Kakola (the main settlement at Bulyanhulu) in which he cut down the Minister's order to seven days and ordered the suspension of all mining activities within 12 hours! That evening, about 60 armed policemen were stationed in Bulyanhulu in readiness for the operation to evict the miners (see "The day all hell broke loose at Bulyanhulu", The Guardian, September 9, 1996)....

" That since the suit against them was still pending in the High Court of Tanzania, the miners rushed to the Court to seek its intervention over their illegal and extrajudicial eviction. On August 2, 1996, the High Court issued an injunction order against KMCL and the Attorney General restraining them from continuing with the evictions which had entered the third day. That order was broadcast on Radio Tanzania that evening and later relayed to Maj. Gen. Kiwelu and the Regional Police Commander, Charles Mnubi, who were in charge of the eviction operation...”

"The High Court order was ignored and openly flouted by these officials. As a result, a few days later media reports appeared that claimed a massacre of small-scale miners had occured in BUlyanhulu who were said to have been buried alive in the mine pits.” (See "Following order to kick miners out: 23 feared buried by 'graders' in Bulyanhulu", Majira, Monday, August 12, 1996; "Uncertainty reigns over Kahama killings: Death toll reaches 52: photographs of the dead taken to Dodoma: They were buried by graders", Mtanzania, Tuesday, August 13, 1996).

These reports named some of the dead miners and added that police were preventing local people from getting into the areas where their friends and relatives died with the result that some of the dead bodies that had already been exhumed were left to rot in the open without proper burial. The reports also gave names of survivors who gave accounts of the events to the press (see "Bulyanhulu survivor names the dead: claims 4 colleagues died", Majira, Friday, August 30, 1990).

"Later the media reported that the police were also preventing local people from exhuming the bodies once the magnitude of the tragedy became clearer (see "digging of bodies stops at Bulyanhulu", Majira, Tuesday, August 20, 1996). Voluntary efforts by the local people to exhume the bodies of their dead relatives and friends were tharted by the police (see "Miners volunteer to exhume the Bulyanhulu pits", Majira, Sunday, August 25, 1996; "Miners alleged buried in Bulyanhulu", Mtanzania, Monday, September 9, 1996; "The day hell broke loose at Bulyankulu", The Guardian, Monday, September 9, 1996). It took over a month for those accused of directly masterminding the killings to openly deny the allegations of killings (see "No one was buried at Bulyankulu - Kiwelu", Majira, September 17, 1996). That report quoted Gen. Kiwelu describing those alleging the killings as 'liers and rumor-mongers.'

" The reports of the killings ultimately reached international human rights bodies such as Amnesty International which has published the reports for four years straight (1997-2000) and have asked the government to establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the events. However, the government has always rejected these demands by repeating the same Gen. Kiwelu denials that nobody died. Furthermore, the government has never given any explanation as to how over 400,000 miners who were in the Bulyanhulu mines could have left the area within seven days given by Gen. Kiwelu. In addition, the government has never explained why so many armed policemen were sent to Bulyanhulu on the night of July 30, 1996 nor the reasons for the government's violation of the valid court order that sought to prevent the evictions pending the determination of the suit between the miners and KMCL. It is obvious that people like Gen. Kiwelu and senior police officials could not have been believed by anybody that they would tell the whole truth as they themselves were directly accused of involvement in the killings...."

The letter ends by calling the President to do the following:
1. See to it that an independent panel is formed to investigate the events of 1996 so that justice is done, the pain and suffering of those who lost loved ones is alleviated and the ghosts of the dead are laid to rest....
2. See to it that all those who were, and continue to be, affected by the Bulyanhulu mine whether through loss of loved ones or destruction of property and livelihoods are compensated in accordance with the laws of the land....
3. Decisive measures are taken against all those known to have participated, directly or indirectly, in the killings of the miners and flouting valid order.

You yourself, Your Excellency, have recently exhorted Tanzanians not to take the law into their own hands but to take alleged criminals to judicial organs. Why is it that those known to have ignored the order the High Court in the Bulyanhulu matter have been left to continue in their previous positions, without being required to account for their misdeeds before the law and before the public?"

The letter is signed by Mr. Rugemeleza Nshala, President,

Lawyers' Environmental Action Team (LEAT), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Dated July 16, 2001.



Letter of Both ENDS & Milieudefensie to the Barrick Gold Corp. (including a list of signatories)

Reports regarding Bulyanhulu

Statement of a survivor of the alleged burial in Tanzania

Exporting Corporate Control: Greg Ballast vs. Barrick Gold. Corp.