At least 37 people have died after a gold mine located 60 km north of the Central African Republic town of Bambari collapsed, burying about 30 workers.
The mine is owned by Canadian Axmin (CVE:AXM), but was taken over by rebels over a year ago, who now control the area.
According to local media, the accident was due heavy rains that made the pit in which the miners were working collapse. A government’s spokesman said that 10 injured miners have been rescued so far, but there are an unknown number of bodies still buried after the accident.
Georges Yacinth-Oubaouba, a senior official in the Ministry of Mines, told Reuters there are no officials on the ground to regulate those illegal miners. “They dig without any rules,” he was quoted as saying.
Violence broke out in Central African Republic in December 2012. Seleka rebels, loosely organized groups that drew primarily Muslim fighters from other countries, ousted the president and installed their own leader in a March 2013 coup.
The Seleka were officially disbanded, but its members continued to commit such crimes as pillaging, looting, rape, and murder.
In September 2013, after 10 months of terrorism at the hands of the Seleka, anti-balaka self-defence groups began to form. The anti-balaka picked up momentum in November, and the conflict in the nation took on a sectarian character, as some anti-balaka, many of whom are Christian, began attacking Muslims out of revenge for the Seleka’s acts.