EGHT artisanal miners have been killed due to underground pit collapse at Igando Village in Magenge Ward, Geita Region.
Geita Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Safia Jongo confirmed the incident on Saturday, while speaking to journalists after recovering the bodies of the deceased.
ACP Jongo said the accident occurred due to severe weather conditions following heavy rains that flooded the pit, while the miners were underneath.
“The miners were found dead around 9am after heavy rains pounded in the surrounding area…water invaded the pit where they were mining,” ACP Jongo said.
The commander named the deceased as Juma Pamba (42), Akili Anthony (40), Samwel John (25), Juma Swalele (50), Simon Mabula (40), Kamala Nyambogo (30), Bahati Nyambogo (25), and Juma Sumuni (53).
“It is unfortunate that the deceased were conducting their activities in an unauthorised area,” the RPC said.
On his part, Fire and Rescue Service Commander in Geita Region, Shabaan Dawa said the rescue procedures started immediately after they received notification of the development, adding that in the course they managed to recover all the eight bodies.
In his address, Geita Regional Mining Officer, Mr Martin Shija said the area where the accident occurred was licensed to one –Abdul Joseph, but banned for artisanal mining activities in September 2022.
Elaborating, Geita Regional Commissioner, Mr Martin Shigella had announced the ban on small-scale miners from operating their activities in the area, and asked the public to follow proper procedures to obtain a licence for safe mining.
Meanwhile, the Police Force in Mara Region has said that the employee of the North Mara Gold Mine, who died inside the mine threw himself into a hole approximately 20 metres long after he was found digging stones thought to contain gold in an underground mine in the Gokona area.
“The body of the deceased has been kept at the Tarime Town Council Hospital pending a medical examination to determine the cause of his death,” the Regional Police Commander (RPC) of Tarime Rorya, ACP Geoffrey Sarakikya said yesterday.
RPC Sarakikya named the deceased as Emmanuel Chacha (25), a resident of Kemakorere village in Tarime District, Mara Region.
RPC Sarakikya has said that the incident happened on Saturday around 11 pm inside the mine operated by the Barrick Company in partnership with the government of Tanzania, through the Twiga Minerals Company.
“He threw himself into a hole after he was found stealing stones thought to contain gold, but the autopsy will provide answers to the cause of death,” emphasised RPC Sarakikya.
RPC Sarakikya said that before he threw himself, the task force team found him stealing stones believed to contain gold in the pit.
Commander Sarakikya explained that the taskforce team including the Regional Mining Officer, officers from police force, the mine’s security unit and the company’s hired Nguvu Moja are working on the issue for further information.
However, RPC Sarakikya said that he will provide a full report of the incident after the autopsy of the deceased is completed.