Two artisanal miners are feared dead after they were trapped in a collapsed gold pit in Lujinji D Village, Kitumbi Sub-County Kassanda district.
The two are Nathan Muyingo and another only identified as Byamukama. It is alleged that the two have been carrying out illegal mining activities in the restricted mining area.
Police says that the incident which happened on Saturday was reported by the village chairperson Daniel Mukuye.
Since last year, there have been unconfirmed reports of mining taking place in Lujinji under the watch of the police unit which was enacted to keep law and order in the mining sector.
The vice was first reported by the manager Kisiita Mining Company Jjuuko Lukanga. However, police have always refuted these claims.
When our reporters visited the place recently, there were briefly detained by the mining police officers at the same area. However, the officers had huge sums of money packed in polythene bags.
In 2017, thousands of Artisanal and Small Scale Miners had been evicted from Kassanda gold mines, on grounds that their activities were illegal and posed a security threat. However, after a series of negotiations government resolved that AUC Mining (U) Limited, the company which owns the exploration area relinquishes 30 percent of the land to the artisanal and small scale miners.
On their return this year, the artisanal and small scale miners were allocated fresh mining locations. However, they have since been pessimistic on the existence of Gold in the new locations.
One of the artisanal miners who preferred anonymity to comment freely on the matter says that after investing a lot of money in the new sites without getting returns, some of their colleagues are at times tempted to sneak into the restricted areas.
“After drilling for moths without getting good gold in the new locations, it is natural that one can go to Lujini since we are all aware that there is gold. How to get there is another story; some sneak into while others get the help of the mining police officers,” said the source.
Wamala Regional Police Spokesperson Norbert Ochom says claims of police officers abetting gold mining in restricted areas are currently being investigated.
“I cannot confirm or deny the allegations. However, investigations are underway ad if there are officers implicated will be handled as the law says,” said Ochom. He, however, insists that some miners do sneak into the restricted areas.
The Mubende United Miners Association General Secretary Emmanuel Kibirige says they have always advised their members not to get to restricted areas for the benefit of their job remembering the struggle they have undergone to get their new mining locations.