BUKAVU, DR Congo, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- At least 32 bodies of illegal miners were found on Thursday after the collapse of an artisanal gold mine on October 4 in South Kivu Province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to local sources.
A statement made late Thursday by Deogratias Musafiri, president of the civil society of Fizi in the province of South Kivu, said that the provisional record shows 32 people were dead and removed from the well on Thursday afternoon.
Musafiri said that the collapse followed heavy rains that hit the territory of Misisi and caused flooding on the night of October 4.
Since the collapse of the mine, the search team has struggled to conduct proper search work due to lack of resources. The recovery of the 32 bodies was said to be due to money support for search operation from a close associate of the nation's president, Joseph Kabila.
According to sources on site, several bodies are still buried more than 70 meters underground.
Authorities on site blame lack of maintenance of the well as a major cause for the mine's collapse. Many Congolese artisanal miners work in mines that do not respect the conditions and safety standards.
Authorities in South Kivu Province decommissioned several artisanal mines in some areas of South Kivu province in 2017 after a series of incidents recorded at the mines. The province is also among the provinces that record the most landslides during rainy seasons.