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One miner missing, 11 others injured in Ntungamo mine

Some of the miners at Mwerasandu

Ntungamo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  One miner is missing following an accident at Mwerasandhu Tin mines in Rwamwire-Ruhaama Sub County in Ntungamo district.

The mine, which belongs to German firm, Zanak Holdings caved in on Wednesday injuring eleven miners.

Some of the workers told URN that they were called in to save their save their colleagues who were trapped underground and they managed to retrieve 11 people with injuries.

They however, noted one of the miners identified as Jameson Kizza, a Rwandan national is still unaccounted for. The workers noted that management is reluctant to involve police when such accidents occur.

John Marini, one of the survivors, says that he saw rocks falling and dashed for the exit before the mine caved in. He suspects that the walls could have been weakened by continuous mining.

The company has registered 15 accidents at the mines in the past two years. At least 13 miners have lost their lives in these accidents.

Moses Serunjonji, the Manager Zanak Holdings has confirmed the latest accident at the mines, saying they used artisanal miners to rescue their colleagues.

He admits that they have had similar accidents in the past and didn’t involve police in the rescue efforts because officers refuse to enter the mines without sufficient equipment whenever called upon, which slows rescue efforts.

Serunjonji however noted that they always file reports with police on each incident at the mines.

On the accusations of failing to provide the miners with protective gears, Serunjonji said most of the miners decline to use the wear, saying they make them uncomfortable.

The miners, who work in groups of 15, use traditional mining techniques. They sometimes move as deep as 100 meters deep in the ground in search of tin.

There are at least 700 artisanal miners at the mines. The Rwizi Regional Police spokesperson, Samson Kasasira, says they are working with artisanal miners to find the missing miner.

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URN

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