A toxic leak from a massive diamond mine in Angola has killed at least 12 people and left 4,500 sick in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
The leak from Catoca mine went into a tributary of the River Congo, turning it red and killing huge numbers of fish, which some people ate according to DR Congo’s Environment Minister Eve Bazaiba.
According to Reuters news agency, the mine produces about 75% of Angola’s diamonds.
Ms Bazaiba said there were “tonnes of dead fish floating on the river… and then the first reflex by people was to take the fish”.
Officials in Kasai province of DR Congo banned people from drinking water and eating fish from the river but about a million people are already affected.
The country says Communities living on the river banks suffered from diarrhoea and other health problems and they will seek for damages from the Angolan mining company.
Catoca, which is jointly owned by Angolan state diamond company Endiama and Russia’s Alrosa, said it had built two dykes to filter sediment out of the water and that the leak had been sealed, Reuters reports.