Police in Ghana are investigating the death of a 16-year-old Chinese boy killed during a crackdown by security forces on illegal gold mining, the deputy foreign minister said on Sunday.
Security forces arrested 100 Chinese nationals during the round-up in the gold-rich Ashanti region near Ghana’s second largest city, Kumasi, on Friday, a Chinese diplomat said.
“We have received reports about the death of a 16-year-old boy of Chinese nationality. It is regrettable, and the government has ordered an investigation into the incident,” Chris Kpodo said, adding that he had met with China’s ambassador about the incident.
“We will also be granting the ambassador a diplomatic access to visit the detainees and speak with them,” he added.
The Chinese diplomat at the embassy in the capital Accra said the boy, known as Chen, was shot dead while trying to flee.
“It is very difficult to determine how it happened so we are eager to get a full report from the Ghanaian authorities,” the diplomat said.
Ghana is Africa’s second biggest producer of gold after South Africa, producing over 1.6 million ounces of the precious metal in the first half of this year.
As gold prices have hit record levels in recent years, the sector has been increasingly plagued by illegal diggers, however, including a rising number of undocumented Chinese immigrants.
Around 30 Chinese miners were deported from Ghana last month, officials said.