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Cameroon clears illegal miners from border

Cameroon clears illegal miners from border
Cameroon clears illegal miners from border

The government of Cameroon has deported more than 1,000 illegal gold miners on the country’s eastern border with the Central African Republic.

This follows death of 27 miners in May due to landslides. Those being expelled include 400 Central Africans and Senegalese in the village of Kambele, a village in Batouri, and an administrative unit located about 700 kilometers from Cameroon’s eastern neighbor, CAR.

Local authorities at Batouri confirmed 27 illegal gold miners died in Kambele village in May. Auberlin Mbelessa, mayor of Batouri says an emergency crisis meeting recommended the deportation of at least 1,000 civilians from the risky mining area.

The Mayor affirmed that its rescue workers, military and police were deployed to Kambele to clear the area of illegal miners and make sure foreign illegal miners either obtain their residence and mining permits or leave.

Risk zones

“The military is prohibiting miners from visiting risk zones where trenches dug to harvest gold are collapsing. No one can be indifferent when civilians are dying in gold mines, yet thousands of people continue to rush to mining sites which from every indication are dangerous,” said Mbelessa.

Every year during the rainy season, gold mines collapse leaving many people severely wounded or dead. The government has always prohibited unauthorized people from digging in the area. But many youths ignore the order saying that they are unemployed.

Some of the illegal miners are displaced persons fleeing the conflict in CAR and fleeing from Boko Haram terrorist groups on its northern border with Nigeria. Some are escaping from the Anglophone separatist fighters in the country’s English-speaking western regions.

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