At least 30 killed in Afghan gold mine collapse

At least 300 people died in a landslide in Badakhshan province in 2014, above. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2019
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At least 30 killed in Afghan gold mine collapse

  • Villagers had dug a 60-meter deep shaft in a riverbed to search for gold
  • They were inside when the walls fell in

KABUL: At least 30 workers were killed when a gold mine collapsed in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakhshan province on Sunday, officials said.
The workers were searching for gold in a riverbed when a tunnel caved in, they said.
“In the tragic incident, 30-36 people have been reportedly killed,” Mariam Koofi, a lawmaker from the area told Arab News.
The mining operations were carried out illegally and without following the standard safety operation, she said. Badakhshan is a remote, mountainous province in northeast Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan, China and Pakistan.
The impoverished region is prone to landslides, particularly in the colder months when heavy snow blankets the province.
Illegal mining is common in resource-rich Afghanistan, with the Taliban relying on the sector for much of its revenue.
Most of the country’s minerals remain untapped as the raging conflict and lack of regulation deter international miners from exploiting the huge reserves.
Koofi said the Taliban also levy tax on miners.
Najib Danesh, an Interior Ministry spokesman in Kabul, confirmed the incident but gave no further details.
An official at Badakhshan governor’s office feared the death toll might rise. He did not have any information about any rescue operation.

This is not the first mining accident in the war-torn country.
“The mining was done following the standard procedures but the activities were carried out illegally by local influential people,” Mohammad Zekriya, a lawmaker from the province told Arab News.
He confirmed the death toll at 30. Zekriya said no rescue team could make to the area, which most beyond the government’s control and under the Taliban who levy taxes on miners.


UN team to investigate ‘horrific’ massacre in central Mali

Updated 26 March 2019
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UN team to investigate ‘horrific’ massacre in central Mali

  • UN human rights office spokeswoman says the massacre in Ogossagou, in Mali’s Mopti region, mostly targeted people from the ethnic Fulani, or Peuhl, community

GENEVA: The United Nations is deploying crime-scene investigators, human rights officers and a child protection expert to central Mali to investigate intercommunal violence over the weekend that killed more than 150 people, one-third of them children.
Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani of the UN human rights office says the massacre in Ogossagou, in Mali’s Mopti region, mostly targeted people from the ethnic Fulani, or Peuhl, community.
She said Tuesday the “horrific attacks” signal a “spike in killings” in a cycle of violence in the region that has caused 600 deaths and displaced thousands since last March.
Shamdasani said the attacks appeared to be motivated by an effort to eliminate violent Islamic extremist groups active in Mali, but that “millions of people are being painted as violent extremists simply because they are Muslim.”