NGOMA - A landslide at Ngara mining site in a remote part of Karembo Sector in Ngoma District, killed at least six people, who were illegally digging for cassiterite minerals, Mayor Francois Ntiyotwagira, confirmed yesterday.
The accident took place Friday morning, at a mining site which was abandoned a year ago by Rwanda Metals, a mining company.
“Cassiterite, is in abundance in most parts, but remains unexploited. Rwanda Metals did us great disservice when it unceremoniously abandoned the mines,” he said.
“Apart from the Friday incident we have not been experiencing any problems. The mines are closed until further notice,” the Mayor said.
Ngoma District Police Commander (DPC), Supt Albert Gakara said the victims were all area residents.
He explained that three other miners managed to escape unhurt, while one was injured and is admitted at Kibungo Hospital.
“We have reinforced security at the mines and will continue to sensitise the population on the dangers of illegal mining,” he said.
A 27-year-old man, Augustin Rwasimikore, was one of the survivors of the accident.
“I was carrying some stones when I felt the sand sliding away and fell face down into the pit,” he told The New Times. “I was so lucky to have survived.”
Similar incidents recently occurred in Rwamagana District, where at least 20 illegal miners died in the sectors of Mwurile and Musha.
The persistence of illegal miners is attributed to local businesspersons, who pay the area residents to search for minerals.