A Central African Republic official says a gold mine that collapsed Sunday, killing dozens of miners, was officially closed four years ago because of a previous cave-in.
The mine was closed by a Canadian firm in 2009 following an accident that killed 16 people, according to Paul Feizore, military commander of the zone where the collapse occurred.
But, he added, "we are in the CAR and people don't have money." He said "that is what pushed them to go and reopen this work site."
The people killed in the collapse were local, small-scale miners working for themselves.
The CAR government said the mine, located in the central town of Ndassima, caved in after heavy rains.
The government said Monday that at least 37 miners were killed. However, officials at the accident site tell VOA that the death toll stands at 27. It was not clear what caused the discrepancy.
The Central African Republic is observing three days of national mourning for victims of the collapse.