Mine collapse in Rarieda, Siaya kills seven

Seven artisanal miners have lost their lives at the Kasweto gold mine in Lumba village, Rarieda Sub-county after a mine shaft collapsed and buried them.

At the time of the accident, 11 artisanal miners were inside the shaft.

According to Mr Samuel Olielo, who lost a brother, the mid-morning incident has thrown the mining community in the area into mourning after their colleagues died while trying to earn a living.

"It is a sad day for us as members of Lumba Kobong village. We have lost young people, one of whom was my elder brother," said Mr Olielo.

Four people who survived the accident were rushed to Bondo Sub-county Hospital while the bodies of the dead miners were taken by police to Bondo Sub-county Hospital mortuary for post-mortem.

Confirming the incident, Siaya County Police Commander Kleti Kimaiyo said investigations were underway to establish the cause of the accident.

"So far, the information we have is that seven people lost their lives at the gold mine and the bodies have been taken to the mortuary for post-mortem. We will give concrete information as soon as we get the full details, our officers are on the spot on the same matter," he said.

Regional mining officer

According to regional mining officer Ben Bera, the frequent collapses of mines in the area are caused by artisanal miners not following safety measures.

"The shafts are supposed to be constructed in such a way that the miners are safe, but unfortunately most of them have neglected the safety measures. We usually advocate that they get a permit before they start mining," he said.

Tuesday's incident comes barely two months after a miner died in a nearby mine, while three people survived a similar ordeal in a shaft just a few kilometres from where the seven lost their lives.

It took a month to recover the body of Kennedy Ouma, 19, who died in the May 1 incident, and family members had to camp at the site throughout the search.

Culturally, it is believed that the presence of the missing person's family at the site helps to speed up the recovery process.