Rescuers were given access to the refuge for all hope, in the Perkoa mine, on Tuesday 17 May. No one was there, and all indications are that the eight miners could not reach this room on the day of the flood, April 16.
With our special correspondent in Réo, Yaya Boudani
The mood was heavy at the crisis committee headquarters since the rescue team returned. The women, who had organized several prayer services, had tears in their eyes even before the government declaration. “Despite our incantations, our prayers, we found a sanctuary empty of any human being,” the mining minister repeated several times. Jean Alphonse Somé clarified that it is cruel information that he regrets to draw the attention of families and populations.
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“It is not easy at all. This is not the information we expected,” the spokesman for the families repeated. According to the government, the search is not over. The water pumping will continue until all galleries are empty. “We will go lower, into the interior of the earth, to see if our brothers are not refugees somewhere,” the Minister of Mines and Quarry insisted. According to him, there is a third refuge chamber that is even lower, but the main purpose is to drain all the water inside the mine.
The government is committed alongside the mine for the rest of the process. Six Burkinabé, one Tanzanian and one Zambian are trapped almost 720 meters underground in the Perkoa zinc mine in the Center West region, following a flood on 16 April. Since the incident, no radio contact has been established with the miners who are trapped in the galleries.