18 July 2014

Rwanda: One Dead, Seven Rescued As Gakenke Mine Collapses

Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
One dead, several rescued in a mine in Gakenke region in Rwanda (file photo).

GAKENKE RESIDENTS were yesterday elated after rescuers managed to pull out seven miners who had been trapped inside a collapsed mine for close to 18 hours.

Rescuers battled throughout the night and yesterday morning and employed different tools to dig the collapsed quarry in a bid to rescue the men.

Unfortunately, one miner, identified as Léonard Ntibanyibuka, 26, died in the incident.

The incident took place on Thursday at around 2pm after the mine in which the miners were working curved in, trapping them inside.

The coltan mining site is operated by Comikagi, a miners' cooperative in Ruli sector, and all the miners were members of the cooperative.

Residents The New Times spoke to called it a "miracle" that the seven miners were rescued because they had battled for several hours to rescue them with little hope.

Cyprien Nkomejimana, one of survivors, called the rescue a resurrection.

"It is a miracle that we survived such a terrible accident," he said, before emotionally thanking his rescuers who spent the whole night tilling land to save them.

Deo Nzamwita, the Gakenke District mayor, praised the rescue workers. He said officials from the Natural Resources Authority and the district had met the miners and discussed measures to avoid similar incidents in the future.

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