Illegal miners killed in Cholera outbreak in Liberia, possible water poisoning

At least 100 people have died from a Cholera epidemic in southeastern Liberia where thousands of foreigners and locals are engaged in illegal mining of diamond and gold, UN and Liberian officials said Wednesday, according to media reports out of the African country.

A UN official in the affected area, in the town of Butaw in the Sinoe County, told the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) radio that UN agencies and local authorities were trying to contain the situation, AngolaPress reports.

Efforts are also said to be underway to evacuate some of the illegal miners from the area.

Liberia`s Information Minister William Allen reportedly confirmed the illegal mining in the area, and expressed government’s concern over the cholera outbreak.

Meanwhile, another report has blamed the deaths in the area on “water poisoning,” according to AngolaPress.

Transport Minister Vamba Kanneh, a medical doctor, was quoted by a private local radio station Monday as saying he had received credible information that “some local people poisoned the stream that supplied drinking water to the area because they were unhappy with the influx of illegal miners exploiting their gold and diamonds,” AngolaPress reports

But Health Minister Peter Coleman in Monrovia said he could neither deny nor confirm that account until the return in a few days, of a medical team dispatched to the area, according to AngolaPress.