BSS
  12 Jun 2024, 12:15

'Hope lost' in search for trapped Nigerian miners: official

KANO, Nigeria, June 12, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Rescuers have lost hope of finding
alive at least 20 Nigerian miners who were trapped when a pit collapsed over
a week ago, an emergency services official told AFP Tuesday.

The accident on June 3 trapped artisanal miners employed by a local company
in Galkogo village in central Niger state's Shiroro district.

"All hope is lost of finding the miners alive. Eight days have elapsed since
they were buried inside the pit," Ibrahim Audi Husseini, spokesman for the
State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) told AFP.

"The rescue operation has not been officially called off but families of the
trapped miners who are Muslims have already offered the seventh day prayer
for the repose of the souls of their relations who they considered dead," he
added.

Due to lack of equipment, artisans were employed to dig through boulders
covering the pit using chisels, a slow, laborious process, Husseini said.

SEMA said last week more than 30 miners were trapped, but days later the
police revised the number down to 20.

Husseini maintained SEMA's assessment of more than 30 miners trapped, based
on testimonies from villagers and other miners.

Shiroro is one of several districts in Niger state terrorised by bandits who
raid remote villages, loot and burn homes as well as kidnap residents for
ransom.

Last year, the Niger state government banned mining activities in Shiroro,
Munya and Rafi districts due to insecurity and safety concerns.

However artisanal miners have ignored the ban, continuing their work to raise
money for food and other essential needs after bandit raids forced many from
their homes and their farmlands.

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