Three illegal mine workers in Maluku buried following landslide

Three illegal mine workers in Maluku buried following landslide

Photo document of the tents of illegal gold miners meet the Gunung Botak (Bold Mountain) area, District Wamsaid, Buru Island, Maluku. (ANTARA/Daniel Leonard)

Their fellow workers are still digging to find their bodies buried since yesterday."
Ambon, Maluku (ANTARA News) - Three illegal gold mine workers are believed to have died after being buried in the pit following a landslide at the illegal mine at Gunung Botak in the sub-district of Wamsait, Buru island, Maluku Province.

"Their fellow workers are still digging to find their bodies buried since yesterday," a local villager, Baim Wael, said when contacted for his confirmation of the incident from here on Friday.

The pit dug by miners is usually more than 20 meter deep and its number reaches thousands while the location is vulnerable to landslides especially during rainy season.

Baim said the identities of the three miners have not yet been known but two of them hailed from Tasikmalaya, West Java, and the other one from Bombana, Southeast Sulawesi.

Landslides often happen at the location which has so far become an illegal gold mine attracting thousands of miners from various regions in the country such as Tasikmalaya, Bombana, Manado in North Sulawesi, Makassar in South Sulawesi and Ternate in North Maluku.

Most of the miners who come to Buru island are former traditional miners in their home regions.

"We do not understand why the activity is still continuing despite the agreement of the Buru district administration and all local traditional figures to stop it and evacuate the location," he said.

The Buru resort police have summoned the heads of Waepo sub-district, Waelata and Kayeli sub-districts as well as the head of the Nurlatu sub-district with regard to the sale of thousands of tickets worth Rp750,000 to Rp1 million each for entering the location.

"They have been questioned over the issue since last week and it was part of the law enforcement action taken after the Gunung Botak location was closed based on the decree of the Maluku governor issued at the end of December 2012 following clashes between miners," he said.***4***

(Reporting by Daniel Leonard/Uu.H-YH/F001)

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