Six days after 45 illicit miners were reportedly trapped in the Kartee Gold Mines in Gboanipea, 10 kilometers from Tappita District, Nimba County, report says county authorities are for the first time venturing into the mine today, Thursday, 14 February.
County Inspector Reginald Mehn discloses to our Nimba County Correspondent that an official rescue team is moving in today with yellow machines to dig out mud that has buried the local miners.
The decision comes after traditional mask dancers or “country devils” that recently took over the mine have reportedly withdrawn from the area. The country devils were deployed as traditional means to halt further intrusion into the mines, while search for survivors started.
At least five dead bodies were recovered and one survivor rescued Tuesday, 12 February from the scene. The remaining 39 miners are feared dead, as there has been no contact with them since the incident.
Official intervention or response by government has been slow for reasons yet to be explained in a situation of such magnitude that has been left squarely with local authorities, who lack capacity to initiate any effective rescue operation.
Nimba County Superintendent Dorr Cooper is quoted by the BBC as saying about 100,000 illicit miners have intruded the mines in a gold rush, some of them armed.
Earlier instructions from local authorities for people to vacate the mines had gone ignored.
The New Dawn gathers that the illicit miners reportedly discharged single barrel guns in the mines to prevent state security from deploying in the area, something that has left local authorities with no alternative but to bring in the country devils.
Report says 12 miners had earlier lost their lives in the same area prior to last Saturday’s (February 9th) incident.
The Kartee Gold Mines was ordered closed last month by
local authorities in Tappita following reports of mass
death of illicit miners. But the order was allegedly ignored.
The New Dawn also gathers that the 45 miners in question were
involved in underground mining by digging under the earth until they were trapped by mudslides. Story by Jonathan Browne