CONAKRY At least six people, including women and children, were killed when a small gold mine in Guinea, West Africa caved in on them, a local official said on Wednesday.
The accident happened on Tuesday when some of the group were digging in the mine in the country's remote, mineral-rich Siguiri province when it caved in.
Some small mines in the country employ unskilled workers and it is not uncommon for children to be taken in.
"Since yesterday we have been doing the count and we are at six dead, including two women. Amongst them are also children of less than 12 years of age who were with their parents," the central government's local representative for the Siguiri region, Mohamed Cheick Diallo, told Reuters by telephone.
He did not say how many were working at the site.
Thousands work in Guinea's mines, seeing it as a route out of poverty. Mining is legal but notoriously dangerous.
One person was killed in an accident in March in the same area and 25 died in a gold mine explosion in eastern Guinea last November.
Guinea is one of Africa's richest countries in terms of resources with reserves of iron ore, gold, bauxite and diamonds but it remains one of the world's poorest in terms of development, ranking 178th out of 187 countries in the U.N. Human Development Index last year.
(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Susan Fenton)