At least 17 people have been killed in a landslide at a gold mine in northeastern Guinea, local police said Monday.
A local elected official confirmed the death toll, saying he had “seen at least 17 dead” after the accident which took place late Sunday in Norassoba, some 35 kilometres (20 miles) from the town of Siguiri.
“This death toll is clearly provisional as the villagers say there are still many people missing,” police lieutenant Marcus Bangoura said.
One local inhabitant said “the landslide apparently took everyone by surprise, there was no sign of danger in this mine where we have been working for several years.”
There are many such accidents in mines in mineral-rich Guinea where thousands risk their lives working in illegal pits.
The work becomes even more dangerous in the rainy season.
Guinea has gold, diamonds, bauxite and huge reserves of iron ore but the west African country’s population struggle to make ends meet.
The miners include locals and those from nearby countries such as Burkina Faso, Liberia and Ivory Coast.
Authorities say there are more than 20,000 such miners in the Siguiri region.