France: GIGN gendarme killed in French Guiana during an operation against illegal gold panning

A view of the forest in French Guiana, near Dorlin, in 2012. © AFP - JODY AMIET

Text by: RFI Follow

2 min

A young French gendarme, member of the elite intervention unit GIGN, lost his life this Saturday, March 25 in operation with the army in Maripasoula, in the Amazonian park of Guyana, on the gold panning site of Dorlin. He was shot dead in this French territory in South America, bordering Brazil and Suriname.


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He was 35 years old and a father of two. A French gendarme of the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN) was shot dead Saturday during an operation to combat illegal gold panning in French Guiana.

He was participating in an operation against illegal gold panning, with the French army, in Maripasoula, in the Amazon Park, on the site of Dorlin, in the center of this vast French territory located on South American soil.

The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, expressed "his great emotion", hailing "the courage and memory of this non-commissioned officer, fallen under fire", can we read in a statement in Paris.

This is not a first. In 2012, two soldiers were killed and two gendarmes seriously wounded by gunfire during a joint operation against illegal gold miners, already at the Dorlin site.

►Grand Reportage: In French Guiana, the village of Saul chooses the path of ecotourism against gold panning

It's a recurring struggle. In 2022, French authorities conducted more than 1,000 forest patrols against illegal gold panning, and seized 59 kg of mercury and 5 kg of gold, according to figures from the prefecture.

About 10 tons of gold are illegally mined from Guyana each year by the so-called "garimpeiros", the illegal Brazilian gold miners in Guyana. The problem is also environmental.

To separate gold from ore, illegal gold miners use a large amount of mercury, a toxic metal that pollutes soils and waterways, and promotes deforestation in the Amazon.

The situation is made even more delicate by its cross-border nature, with gold miners acting on both sides of the Oyapock and Maroni rivers, between the French department, Brazil and Suriname.

►RFI web documentary: Suriname and cocaine

(With AFP


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Read on on the same topics:

  • Guyana
  • France
  • Raw materials
  • Criminality
  • Environment
  • Amazonia