18 people are reported dead after an artisanal gold mine in the Maradi region of southern Niger, near Nigeria collapsed on Sunday.
Mayor of Dan Issa, Adamou Guéraou told the AFP, "The provisional death toll is 18, which we buried this morning. There were also seven injured in hospital," He added, Nigerian nationals were among the injured
The accident occurred at the mining site in the village of Garin-Liman, not far from the border with Nigeria, Guéraou said.
Some locals told journalists "Rescue operations are still going on and it is likely more bodies many be discovered as it appears some victims have been trapped in the mining pit.
Discovered a few months ago, the Garin-Liman mines attract thousands of artisanal gold miners who mine with the hope of making a living.
Niger, a poor Sahelian country, has had dozens of traditional gold panning sites for the past 40 years, notably in the Tillabéri region (west), now the scene of deadly jihadist attacks, and in the north near Libya.
This is not the first of such accidents on these sites. This is due to the instability of the soil and the outdated means used in the mining process.
In the perspective of modern exploitation, the authorities had closed in 2017 several artisanal gold mining sites in the southwest and northeast desert, home to tens of thousands of gold miners from several African countries.