Police and local leaders are searching for four people who were trapped in a mine in Musanze District.
The incident occurred on Saturday at a mine located in Cyabagarura cell, Musanze sector.
Three people were first to be trapped. Hours later, when the fourth miner entered to check on his colleagues he was also trapped underground, according to police and local leaders.
Inspector of Police Innocent Gasasira, the Northern Province regional police spokesperson confirmed the incident, Monday, adding that rescue efforts were complicated, and they were awaiting support from experts.
It was said that the mine was yet to be confirmed as a potential source of diamond minerals.
The miners, it emerged that they burnt charcoal using petrol to break the rock inside to create a tunnel but could have suffocated in the process.
“So far, we are waiting for support from Rutongo miners (in Gakenke District) as they are experts in mining with enough equipment, we hope they would help rescue the victims,” Gasasira said.
It was still unclear whether the victims were still alive or dead.
Gasasira cautioned against illegal mining, urging miners to seek permission whenever they are planning to extract minerals in any site.
He also said production at the mine should stop until the exploration process is finished.
Jean Marie Vianney Ndayisaba, whose relative is trapped underground, said they detected it after the victims failed to return home for lunch.
“We tried entering the tunnel but it was too hard for us to get underground due to serious smoke, we rushed out but unfortunately we lost another person, we have no hope that those trapped underground are still alive after those days,” he said.
Marie Claire Uwamariya, Musanze District vice mayor in charge of social affairs said the rescue process was complicated due to the fact that the victims used petrol and charcoal which are sending heavy smokes.
She also said that the tunnel is too narrow for rescuers, especially police.
“We are doing our best to rescue them, we have got oxygen mask from Ruhengeri Hospital and rescuers are using them with other materials to try to rescue the victims, we are yet to know whether they are alive or not,” said Uwamariya.