At Least 15 Dead After Guinean Gold Mine Landslide

 

At least 15 people died Saturday after a landslide at a clandestine artisanal gold mine in Guinea’s northeast Siguiri region, rescuers and witnesses said.

A rock overhang collapsed near the village of Tatakourou according to first telephoned reports from the area which did not clearly establish whether the victims had been crushed by falling rock above the mine or buried inside the facility.

A Red Cross official on site said on condition of anonymity at least 15 people had been killed but did not rule out that others had been buried at the mine entrance.

Sinaman Traore, a gold panner at the mine, said he had seen volunteers rescue two colleagues.

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“This situation in the Siguiri mines concerns all of us — at the end of the day these landslides are more deadly than the Covid-19 pandemic,” said police capitain Mamadou Niare after arriving at the scene.

The country’s Covid-19 death toll to Saturday stood at 149 but recent years have seen a spate of accidents at artisanal mines, particularly around Siguiri near the border with Mali, a region where more than 20,000 panners are officially active.

At least 17 clandestine miners were killed in a landslide in February 2019 and another dozen nine months later.

Despite the country boasting rich deposits of minerals such as bauxite, diamonds and gold the bulk of the population faces a daily struggle to survive with the UN estimating around one two live below the poverty line.

The search for gold riches attracts clandestine miners from Mali, Senegal and several other West African neighbours.

Eight Policemen Killed In Landmine Blast

 

Eight Kenyan police officers were killed Saturday when their vehicle ran over a landmine during a patrol near the border with Somalia, police said.

Police Inspector General Hilary Mutyambai said a Landcruiser with 11 police on board “was hit by an improvised explosive device”.

He did not give a toll but a regional police source told AFP: “We lost eight police officers in this attack”.

They had been on patrol between Khorof-Harar and Konton in Wajir county on the border between Kenya and Somalia, Mutyambai added.

Kenyan media had reported an attack on Konton Friday by Islamist Al-Shabaab insurgents who kidnapped three Kenyan police reservists. AFP has not been able to confirm the information.

The patrol hit in Saturday’s explosion was deployed in response to the reported incidents in Konton.

In June last year, eight Kenyan police were killed in a roadside bomb attack in the same region.

Wajir county and its neighbours Mandera and Garissa are frequently targeted in Shabaab attacks, notably security personnel deployed there to monitor the frontier.

The Al-Qaeda-linked insurgent group has claimed several similar attacks targeting Kenyan police and soldiers.

The Shabaab has been fighting since 2007 to topple Somalia’s fragile government, which is backed by a 20,000-strong African Union force, Amisom.

The insurgents fled fixed positions they once held in Mogadishu in 2011, and have since lost many of their strongholds.

But they retain control of large rural swathes of the country and continue to wage a guerrilla war against the authorities.

The group has carried out a number of attacks in Kenya since 2011 in reprisal for the country’s participation in Amisom.

AFP

Landmine Kills 13 Civilians In Mali, Say Local Officials

Thirteen civilians travelling from Burkina Faso were killed on Thursday when their vehicle ran over a landmine in central Mali, local officials and a security source said, giving a provisional toll.

“Thirteen Malian and Burkinabe civilians were killed near the town of Boni when their vehicle struck a mine,” local official Mahmoud Traore told AFP, as a Malian security source blamed “terrorists” for the blast.

AFP