LONDON, July 30 African Barrick Gold is
being sued in Britain's High Court by a group of Tanzanians who
say the company was complicit in the killing by police of at
least six villagers at one of its mines in incidents dating back
Law firm Leigh Day said on Tuesday that it was representing
12 villagers wanting compensation for incidents including one,
in May 2011, when five young men were killed and others injured.
The company said in response to news of the legal action
that it would not compensate illegitimate claims or lawsuits,
adding that the May 2011 incident had involved violent intruders
who invaded the mine while committing criminal acts.
"In the event any legal proceedings are pursued, African
Barrick will vigorously defend itself against all the claims,"
the company said in a statement.
African Barrick had said in May 2011 that villagers were
killed when police came under attack following a raid by
hundreds of people at the North Mara mine about 100 km east of
Leigh Day said: "The claim alleges that the companies are
liable for the deaths and injuries of local villagers, including
through complicity in the killing of at least six local
villagers by police,"
"It is alleged that police are an integral part of the
mine's security and that they shoot at the villagers using tear
gas and live ammunition," the law firm said in its statement.
The claimants say that African Barrick, a unit of the
world's largest gold producer Barrick Gold Corp, failed
to curb the use of excessive force at the mine.
African Barrick, which was due to release second quarter
results later on Tuesday, has underperformed its rivals on the
stock market and repeatedly cut output forecasts, partly due to
illegal mining at the North Mara site.
The company is under pressure to deliver cost savings after
a plunge in the gold price and is carrying out a review after
Barrick Gold's failed attempt to sell the business to a Chinese