Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Venezuelan police for help in identifying the bodies of five workers that were killed in a gold mine in the southern Bolívar state.
In an official statement, the Colombian Ministry explained that on August 26, 2018, a massacre took place in the town of Tumeremo. Five Colombians are presumed to be amongst the deceased but authorities believe that at least a dozen people died in the incident.
“In coordination with the Colombian consulate in Puerto Ordaz, we have sent out communications to the Venezuelan authorities with the idea of confirming the incident and provide the needed help,” the office of Foreign Affairs said in the statement.
The government department also said that it is focusing efforts on properly identifying the bodies. Once this is done, officials are going to help the families of the deceased miners in anything they need regarding legal advice and the repatriation of their loved ones.
Tumeremo is a town where both artisanal mining and violence are widespread. Clashes between gangs and armed forces are common, as are killings that are aimed at establishing or maintaining criminals’ control over certain neighbourhoods and mine sites.
Back in 2016, the bodies of 17 artisanal miners were found in a mass grave, all of them showing gunshot wounds. The incident is now known as the ‘Tumeremo Massacre.’