Africa

DR Congo: Illegal mine suffers deadly collapse in Kampene

A woman breaks stones containing cassiterite ore at a mine in the Szibira district, Democratic Republic of Congo, in April 2009 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Unofficial, or clandestine, mining is common in mineral rich areas of DR Congo

At least 21 people have been killed in a collapse at an illegal gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials say.

A source has confirmed seven more deaths to the BBC, after the 14 initially reported.

The accident occurred at a mine in the eastern town of Kampene on Wednesday.

Accidents are common in DR Congo's informal mining sector which has poor safety standards.

Civil society campaigner Justin Kyanga Asumani said the accident happened at about 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT) at the illegal mine in the province of Maniema.

He said "dozens of people, including children and pregnant women" were working on the site when the mine collapsed.

Maniema governor Augustin Musafiri confirmed that 21 bodies had been confirmed, reports the AFP news agency.

In June dozens of miners were killed when a copper and cobalt mine in DR Congo's Lualaba province collapsed.

Reserves of cobalt and other minerals like diamonds, copper and gold, should make DR Congo one of the richest countries in Africa, but its people are among the poorest.

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Media captionWhy are people in mineral-rich DR Congo among the world's poorest?

Unofficial, or clandestine, mining is common in mineral rich areas but efforts by security services to try to stop it are often fruitless.

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