A few days ago Ugandan soldiers armed with tear gas shut down the Mubende mines. They were acting on the instructions of the country's government. The miners and their families were told they had just hours to evacuate the area.
Many are still looking for a way to get home. The mines are a four-hour drive from the capital Kampala, and the only road in is a bumpy dirt track. "People are stranded on the road with mattresses, jerry cans, saucepans and children," Ivan told me, speaking on the phone from a nearby village.
The Ugandan government issued a statement blaming the shutdown on unsafe mining practices, and the presence of foreigners in the camps. The miners say the vast majority of people living in the camps are Ugandan. But they acknowledge the mining was illegal. No one had a license.
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