Clash between mining co-ops in Bolivia leaves one person dead, two injured

One person died and two were injured following a violent clash between members of two gold cooperatives operating in the northern part of Bolivia’s capital, La Paz.

The two injured men, 44-yeard-old Raúl Smith Espinoza y and 39-year-old Carlos Soto Salazar, suffered traumatic brain injuries and gunshot wounds.

According to local media, the incident took place in the Mescalita community, which is near the Tipuani River. The co-ops involved were Gran Poder and Primero de Mayo, who have an ongoing dispute over who controls the area.

The Tipuani Valley is one of the most important gold mining regions in Bolivia, where both legal and illegal open-pit and underground mining operations coexist.

The area is also a hotspot for human and drug trafficking, as well as mercury trade and, thus, pollution. 

Following the recent incident, the Bolivian police deployed 50 troops in Mescalita.

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