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At least 21 people have died after an illegal gold mine collapsed in Maniema in eastern DR Congo, the provincial governor said Thursday, a day after the accident.

“There have already been 21 deaths,” Augustin Musafiri, the governor of Maniema, said without giving details.

On Wednesday, Steve Mbikayi, the minister of national solidarity and humanitarian action, tweeted that 14 people had died and three had been hospitalised with serious injuries.

A civil society activist Justin Kyanga Asumani on Thursday said there were 25 deaths “because 10 new bodies have been recovered, including nine men and one woman.” He had given a toll of 15 on Wednesday.

The collapse took place in the mining region of Kampene, about 180 kilometres (about 110 miles) south of the provincial capital Kindu.

Deadly accidents are frequent in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s informal mining sector, where safety is poor.

Subsistent miners rush to an area where valuable minerals are discovered, often digging deep shafts that then collapse.

In May, a public body focussing on subsistence (also called artisanal) mines had asked the mining ministry to shut down the Kampene site on the grounds it had become “too dangerous.”


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