Nine die in disused gold mine in Cameroon

Abandoned mine collapses on 40 villagers.

Villagers retrieve bodies of victims of a collapsed pit from an abandoned mining site in East Region of Cameroon. PHOTO | NDI EUGENE NDI 

At least nine people were killed when an abandoned gold mine collapsed in Lom-et-Djerem in the East Region of Cameroon, an environmental lobby said.

The Forests and Rural Development association (FODER) said the mine caved in in Ngoe Ngoe near the border with Central African Republic on Saturday, December 30.

A local government official confirmed the incident on Tuesday.

“Besides the nine who died, five others were injured,” Mr Yves Bertrand Awounfack Alienou, a senior divisional officer for Lom-et-Djerem told Africa Review.

He added that over 40 villagers were in the pit digging for gold when the mine collapsed.

FODER said four bodies had been found at the same site in early December.

The organisation said the latest incident brings to 43 the number of people who have died in abandoned mines in the region.

“This accident further demonstrates that the rehabilitation of mining holes is more than urgent,” FODER said.

Laurence Wete Soh, a senior project manager at FODER, called on the government to take action against the mining firm.

The mine was operated by a Chinese firm, Lu and Lang.

According to a study by civil society organisations in Cameroon, more than 250 mining sites were abandoned in the mineral-rich East Region between 2012 and 2014.

Environmental activists continue to decry government inaction in the face of dangers posed by abandoned mines to the local communities.

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