Seventeen miners have died after being trapped in an abandoned mining pit in Ghana’s Central Region, local media reported on Tuesday.

The 15 men and two women had been trapped in the mine in Kyekyewerewere since Monday. Another five were rescued and taken to hospital, according to Ghana’s Joy FM.

Illegal mining, so-called “galamsey”, is widespread in Africa’s second largest gold producing country.

Officials in the Central Region have called a security meeting for next week amid a pledge to eradicate illegal mining.

The collapsed mine had reportedly been operated by the God First Enterprise Mining Company until it was abandoned.

Ghana’s security forces have carried out raids to close down illegal mines, many of which have been operated by Chinese nationals.

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