Rabat - The Algerian Army arrested nine Mauritanian gold prospectors last week, but details published by Mauritanian media appears to debunk the official Algerian account.
Rabat – The Algerian Army arrested nine Mauritanian gold prospectors last week, but details published by Mauritanian media appears to debunk the official Algerian account.
The Algerian Ministry of Defense gave a statement in the weekend claiming that nine traffickers of Mauritanian nationality were arrested by the Algerian army patrol in line with “the fight against terrorism and border surveillance.” Mauritanian media fought back against the pretext for the arrests, citing testimonies from the suspects’ families.
The Algerian ministry said that the operation resulted in the “confiscation of a vehicle, a 9 millimeter pistol, cartridges, nine metal detection devices, nine mobile phones, a laptop, a GPS, a device Satellite phone, money in cash and various effects.”
The brother of one of the detainees, Sid’Ahmed Ould Tirjeh, denounced the accusations of trafficking and noted that they were arrested 6 kilometers into the Mauritanian territory.
“The owner of the weapon confiscated from them had a legal authorization issued by the Mauritanian authorities,” pointed out Ould Tirjeh. He also noted that the equipment confiscated showed they were indeed gold prospectors.
The area where the prospectors were arrested has attracted gold seekers since the announcement of discoveries of gold in the north of the country and the legalization of gold panning by the Mauritanian authorities.
Since the Mauritanian state levied heavy taxes on gold seeking equipment, illegal gold mining has thrived in the country’s northern region.