UPDATE 3-Rebel-held mine collapses in Central African Republic, killing 25

Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:55pm EDT
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* New government contains five Seleka members

* Ndassima mine owned by Canada's Axmin

* New U.N. force to deploy from next month (Updates with formation of interim government)

By Crispin Dembassa-Kette

BANGUI, Aug 22 (Reuters) - At least 25 people died when a gold mine collapsed near the Central African Republic town of Bambari, a spokesman for the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels which run the mine said on Friday.

The mine at Ndassima is carved deep into a forested hilltop about 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Seleka's military headquarters in Bambari.

It is owned by Canada's Axmin but was overrun by rebels more than a year ago and now forms part of an illicit economy driving sectarian conflict in the country.

At least 27 artisanal miners were buried in the collapse of the mine on Thursday and 25 bodies have been retrieved, Ahmat Negat, the rebel group's spokesman, said.

The mine collapse is the latest setback for the country, which has been beset by sectarian violence between the Seleka and Christian militia for over a year.   Continued...