Drought fuels gold wars in Bubi



Villagers in Bubi district, one of the areas affected by gold wars, have blamed drought for fuelling artisanal miners’ conflicts.

This was revealed in the latest Habakkuk Trust report following its indaba on natural resources in Bubi on Saturday.

The report states that climate change-induced drought has been described as one of the contributors of increased conflict in the artisanal mining sector in Bubi district.

“Participants at a Habakkuk Trust organised district indaba on natural resources said climate change has disrupted sources of livelihoods in communities that are largely dependent on subsistence farming, resulting in many turning to mining activities as a means of income generation,” the report read.

“Successive dry spells have significantly reduced crop yields and claimed many livestock, thus plunging communities into vulnerability. The situation has forced some villagers into some illicit gold mining activities as a source of income in a sector that is often marred by violent conflicts.”

One of the participants at the indaba is quoted saying: “If the hunger situation does not improve, we will continue losing our children to the violent goldfields, where many are trying to eke a living.”

Faced with the pressure to provide for families, males are involved in violent conflicts in a scramble for the precious mineral, the report stated.

“Bubi is an artisanal mining conflict hotspot that is characterised by clashes between locals and rival gangs,” Habakkuk said in the report.

The report indicated that some of those involved in the gold wars allegedly own hammer mills and processing centres at their homes.

Following the indaba, Habakkuk Trust created a platform for stakeholders and community members to discuss how local resources can significantly benefit the district.

Since August 2019, over 105 people have died in machete wars, with many more left nursing injuries.