Nine people were killed, and at least 20 were injured after a gang of armed men raided the Poderosa mining company in Pataz province of Peru, taking hostages and seizing security staff, according to the interior ministry.
Attackers armed with explosives and other weapons entered the mine shaft on Saturday night and took four people hostage, the ministry said.
The incident occurred in a sinkhole where the company extracts ore, according to Peru daily, El Comerico.
The attackers raided the mine “violently confronting internal security personnel from the company and taking four people hostage”, the ministry said.
Police took “control of the situation” after the raid with the help of special forces.
Seven people have been arrested and their weapons have been seized.
According to preliminary investigations, the suspects had reportedly been requesting a revised material distribution plan from the mining company.
The bodies recovered from outside the mine showed signs of burns, seemingly resulting from the detonation of explosive devices.
The assault comes one year following the impeachment and apprehension of the leftist former president Pedro Castillo, triggering months of violent protests that disrupted operations at mines in the Andean nation.
Months of deadly protests ensued, disrupting mining operations across and creating an environment conducive to illicit activities, including killings, extortion and violent land invasions.
Peru is the world’s second-largest producer of copper and an important silver and gold producer.
Authorities launched a clampdown on illegal mining in 2019 in what was known as Operation Mercury. The goal of the campaign was to clean up La Pampa, home to about 25,000 people, to combat illegal gold mining.
Meanwhile, the interior ministry expressed solidarity with the families of the nine deceased workers on Sunday.