Muyinga: smoke from explosives used in gold mines causes fatal lung poisoning

Muyinga: smoke from explosives used in gold mines causes fatal lung poisoning

Residents of Kamaramagambo hill in Butihinda commune, Muyinga province (north-eastern Burundi) say they are under threat of the smoke from explosives causing pulmonary poisoning as sounds of explosion disturb pregnant women and people with heart issues as well. Kamaramagambo residents demand the use of practices which do not endanger “our life” or rather suspend the activity. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Our sources in the commune of Butihinda, on the hill of Kamaramagambo specify that the population living on this hill and its vicinity is threatened by smoke emanating from explosives breaking down large stones of the mines.

Several dozens of people have died since 2015 from lung poisoning caused by the smoke from these explosives.

“It was Tanzanians who started this method, I think, in 2013. If there is an explosion, the gold miners rush to enter in order to collect the particles of the stones mixed with gold. We did not know that their lives were in danger”, regrets a woman in her thirties.

“We became widows following these explosives and our children are orphans. Our husbands were treated in the expensive hospitals of Burundi even abroad especially in Rwanda, in India but they ended up dying of pulmonary intoxication” a widow currently living in the urban center of Muyinga, complains.

Our sources in Kamaramagambo also report that due to these explosions, pregnant women risk premature deliveries.

“We are always under threat of abortion when we are pregnant, following these sounds of explosions”, declares another woman.

Other people at risk are those with heart problems. Small children are also worried. The people of Kamaramagambo demand the use of systems that do not endanger people’s lives.

“If they can’t do it, let this site be permanently closed because our lives are mortgaged”, they suggest.

Unfortunately, they say, “the miners defy us”. They indicate that they have the support of the Ministry of Commerce, which delivers mineral extraction permits to people gathered in cooperatives.

A spokesperson for the ministry of commerce and local administration were not available to comment on the matter.

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