Seven people have been buried alive in gold pits in Busia district within nine months. The deaths occurred between May 2021 and February 2022 in Buteba, Sikuda, Busitema sub-counties and Tiira town council.
A report from Busia central police station shows that three cases were reported by Greenstone gold mining company where the deceased allegedly broke into their mining areas to steal gold core.
Four other cases were reported in the open pits dug by artisanal miners. Preliminary police findings show that the people who die in the gold pits enter the unprotected pits to steal the gold cores where they end up being buried by the loose soil.
Timothy Pido, the officer-in-charge of the Criminal Investigations Department-CID at Busia central police station, says that some of the artisanal miners enter pits that are about 100feet deep without protective gears and suffocate to death after losing oxygen.
He appealed to the pit owners and gold mining companies to deploy security guards to protect their pits and get mining protective gears to reduce the increased cases of death.
Kenned Otema and Joan Akumu, are artisanal gold miners in the Tiira town council. They say that most of the gold mines are too deep, where most of them cannot reach. They enter the existing old pits to collect the remaining gold cores so that they can sell and earn survival.
Efforts to get a comment from Greenstone gold mining company were futile as the security guards turned away journalists from the company premises.
Charles Olowo, the Tiira town council LC V councillor also an artisanal gold miner, says that cases of death happen at night when people come to steal gold cores.
He claims that some people risk entering the open pits.