Five people lost their lives while others are still trapped after a gold mine collapsed on Friday in Marsabit County.

According to Marsabit County Police Commander Patrick Mwakio, the search and rescue efforts at the gold mine have intensified amid reports that more miners may be trapped.

Confirming the incident, he state that the deceased miners died on the spot when they were buried by debris while digging for gold despite a government order banning mining in the region.

“The miners ignored the government’s directive and ventured into the mine, which had been classified as a disturbed area,” said Mwakio.

Further, he said that the Hilo gold mine, located near the Kenya-Ethiopia border, has been a focal point for gold mining activities, attracting young people seeking a livelihood.

However, due to safety and security concerns, Mwakio said the government ordered the closure of the mine in March.

Intercommunal skirmishes in the Hilo mining area in March left seven people dead amid allegations of

drug trafficking by criminal gangs involved in illegal mining activities.