Freetown -

At least two people were killed and three injured in clashes between security forces and striking miners in eastern Sierra Leone, officials said on Wednesday.

Security forces opened fire on Tuesday after workers from the Octea Diamond Group attempted to attack officials who were called in to resolve the strike, said company spokesman Ibrahim Kamara.

Although the identities of two people killed has not been confirmed, Kamara said they were not Octea employees.

The workers downed tools on Saturday, after the company said they had failed to meet production targets and would not be paid bonuses. Production has been at a standstill.

“They had set up roadblocks and started fighting police and all of the delegation. They disrupted the convoy so we had no option but to retreat to the Octea compound,” Al Shek Kamara, police assistant inspector general told dpa.

He said that police had fired teargas and warning shots at the advancing crowd.

In 2007, two people were shot dead during a strike at the mine - then known as Koidu Holdings. Police denied that live ammunition had been used. - Sapa-dpa