At least three people were killed in a blast at a gold mine site in Kibisem in Tinderet, Nandi County.
The incident at Karebe Gold Mines on Monday, January 23 afternoon also left six other people with serious injuries, police and locals said.
Police were told there was a loud blast from the gold mine site with the miners still inside the tunnel.
There are gold fields in the area and many villagers flock there to make a living.
Many of them are classified as illegal and locals claimed the incident was the first one to happen there.
According to police, the miners used explosives to demolish a huge rock therein leading to deaths and injuries.
There were two groups in different tunnels but targeting the same rock for the deposits and both were using explosives for excavation, survivors told police.
It was then rescued teams were sent to the area and retrieved three bodies and six others who had serious injuries.
Karebe firm has blamed illegal miners for the incident.
“Our staff was killed instantly when a wall built to prevent the mine against flooding and illegal incursion was blasted illegally by illegal miners,” it said in a statement.
It added their sorrow is compounded by a deep frustration that their calls to address the danger posed by illegal miners operating in their license area have not been answered by the relevant authorities, despite Court Orders prohibiting mining activities within the disputed area.
“Since January 2021 we have been urging the Kenyan Government to address the illegal mining incursion on our licence area.”
“Karebe has sent numerous letters to the relevant senior government officials and law enforcement authorities, warning them of the threat to the safety and wellbeing of our staff and company, posed by illegal mining activity. We also expressed our fears in face-to-face meetings with the County Security Committee on Thursday 19th January at which Karebe raised grave concerns about ongoing illegal mining activities, especially the potential dangers caused by illegal blasting.”
Those injured were admitted to the Nandi Hills Sub County hospital in critical condition, police said.