Gold-mining poison kills 28 children

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At least 28 children have been killed by lead poisoning from illegal gold mining in a remote village in west-central Nigeria, health officials said.

Dozens more are sick in the region where doctors are still treating children from a 2010 mass poisoning in Zamfara state that killed 400 children and left many paralysed and blind because of delays in government funding for a clean-up.

Doctors Without Borders said it has cured half the 5,500 infected there and has started closing clinics. Junior health minister Fidelis Nwankwo said all those newly infected in neighbouring Niger state are under five with a 43 per cent fatality rate.

Michelle Chouinard, Nigeria director for Doctors Without Borders, said action must be taken quickly if the children in the Rafi area of Niger state are not to suffer irreversible neurological damage.