Two men and a two-year- old girl died on Christmas Day at an illegal mine in Malawi’s central regional lakeshore district of Salima after the mine collapsed and buried them alive.
Police Public Relations Officer for Salima, Gift Chitowe, confirmed the incident in an interview and identified the three as Adams Mwale, Jusitino Bajesi and Linda Jakamus who were aged 24, 25 and two years respectively.
Mwale came from Mpaliro Village T/A Chatoloma in was Kasungu district, while Najesi came from from Sangwa Village T/A Khombedza in Salima district. Jakamusi came from Sadzu Village, Salima.
Chitowe said that the toddler was in the company of her mother who survived the accident with injuries.
He said the accident happened around 8.00 am Thursday on the banks of the Lilongwe River in the area of Group Village Head Sadzu.
Chitowe said that people had been flocking to the area for the past two weeks to search for gemstones which officers from the Ministry of Mines have identified as a type of granite stones.
“In the process, the people have dug big tunnels and shafts on the banks of the river. On this particular day, the deceased and the survivor were inside the tunnel when it suddenly crumbled and the top soil buried the three,” said Chitowe.
He said the mother of the child survived the accident and had been admitted to Salima district Hospital.
Chitowe said that the wet condition resulting from the rains that started falling on Wednesday had weakened the soil leading to the collapse of the illegal mines.
The granite stones were discovered some weeks ago and since then, the area has been turned into a mine as people are flocking in large numbers to mine the stones.-Reporting by Malawi News Agency