Gold Miners Trapped Underground In Niger State

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Dozens of gold miners are trapped underground after a pit collapsed in central Nigeria.

The incident happened on Monday after heavy rainfall in Niger state but news was slow to emerge because of the country’s general strike, which was called off on Tuesday.

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Niger state emergency service agency spokesman Hussaini Ibrahim told the BBC that one person has been confirmed dead and they think over 30 people are still trapped as rescue efforts continue.

Officials believe the collapse was caused by the torrential rains which softened the soil.

“As at this morning [Wednesday] we believe over 30 people are still trapped, we can’t give you exact figures because even those on site didn’t know,” said Mr Ibrahim.

“One person has been confirmed dead and six persons were rescued and rushed to the hospital.”

He said that four excavators and rescue workers were at the scene trying to help those trapped.

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Nigeria’s Minister of Solid Minerals Dele Alake said that officials of the Mines Inspectorate had been sent to mining site in Galadima Kogo.

“Rest assured, we will investigate the causes of the disaster to prevent a recurrence and ensure the safety of all Nigerians,” he said in a statement.

Niger state is known as a hotbed of activity by criminal gangs who kidnap people for ransom.

Last year, mining activities were banned in the Shiroro area, where the mine collapsed, along with neighbouring districts, due to insecurity and safety concerns.

The state official said extra security had been provided to ensure that rescue workers were not abducted.

Mining accidents are not uncommon in Nigeria with many involving illegal miners going unreported.

In January, a deadly blast which rocked Ibadan, killing two people and injuring 77 others was said to be from explosives stored by illegal miners, the Oyo state government announced.

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