Tragedy as three gold miners die in separate incidents

Friday, February 10th, 2023 03:30 | By
Gold mine collapses in West Pokot PHOTO/Courtesy

Three miners died after two underground gold mines collapsed in Kakamega county on Thursday morning.

In the first incident, two miners were buried alive after a mine in Sigalagala, Ikolomani collapsed at around 1am on Thursday. Seven others were pulled out alive by rescuers and rushed to local hospitals.

As rescue efforts were ongoing to rescue three trapped miners, another mine, Emachirifu in Khayega location, Shinyalu sub-county collapsed. One miner was killed and another injured in the second incident.

County commissioner

The injured miners from the two tragedies were admitted at the St Elizabeth Mission Hospital Mukumu, while the deceased were transferred to Kakamega County General Hospital Mortuary.

The double tragedy prompted the area county commissioner John Ondego to ban mining at night, a decree that was questioned by the Miners’ Association.

“It’s an accident like any other. You don’t just ban without consulting stakeholders. This is a means of livelihood for households. He should explore ways to make this activity safer rather than such rushed remedies,” Miners Association chair Patrick Makhulo said.

Yesterday, Kakamega county police commander Joseph Kigen discounted social media reports indicated twelve people had perished in the Sigalagala mine incident alone. The issue of safety for the minors often arises as many live in abject poverty.

Mining at night was banned by the former county government after another mine collapse left five people dead at Bushiangala area in Ikolomani constituency a few years ago but the order was flouted. The current administration said yesterday that they were not aware that the miners still operated at night.

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