A group of small-scale miners were working in northern Tanzania when the ground caved in and buried them inside. Mining in the area was restricted due to ongoing heavy rains.
Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Sunday that more than 21 people had died in a landslide at a mine in the northern part of the country.
"It is with great sadness I received the reports of the deaths of more than 21 people following a landslide at Ng'alita mine in Bariadi district, Simiyu region," Hassan said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
"These fellow Tanzanians were small miners in the area, trying to earn a living for themselves, their families and contributing to the development of our nation," she added.
The president said the defense force was helping with the recovery of the bodies.
Heavy rains made mining dangerous
Simon Simalenga, the district commissioner for Bariadi, said the incident occurred on Saturday after a group of small-scale miners went to work in an area where mining was restricted due to ongoing heavy rains.
"The regional mining officer visited them and stopped them from mining as it was working on the required procedures," he said.
The group allegedly defied the order before the government had approved physical and environmental safety procedures -- and the area they worked in caved in and buried them inside.
Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia have all been battling flash floods caused by torrential rains linked to the El Nino weather pattern.
Seventy-six people were killed in landslides in the hillside town of Katesh in northern Tanzania last month.
lo/msh (AFP, Reuters)