An estimated 30 people have died following a landslide at an illegal gold mine in Chad in the Tibesti region near the Libyan border.
Chad Defence Minister Mahamat Abali Sala told said that following the mine collapse, more victims might still be buried in the rubble.
The region’s poor communities have been seeking a share of the vast gold resources, which are usually dug up by international mining majors, processed and sent overseas.
A spokesperson said: “Tibesti has witnessed rapid growth in illegal mining in recent years, often by refugees from Sudan looking for quick money to head to Europe or by rebels fighting the army.”
Sala said: “I cannot say exactly how many fatalities there are but there are many people working in these mines, so there must be many deaths, for sure.
“I cannot give you an exact tally as we rushed troops to the scene this morning.”
In July, at least 19 people died following a landslide in the Hpakant region of Myanmar’s Kachin state.
The previous month, an accident at a copper and cobalt mine owned by Glencore claimed the lives of nearly 43 illegal miners.