updated 1/7/2007 6:02:32 PM ET 2007-01-07T23:02:32

Fifteen bodies have been pulled from a diamond mine that collapsed in central Congo last week and further rescue efforts have been abandoned, officials said Sunday.

Three people were rescued soon after the mine in the town of Tshikapa caved in Friday, said Mayor Mwamba Mutombo. He said they did not know if others were in the mine when it fell in but said hope of rescue had been abandoned after two days.

Mutombo said the group appeared to have been teenagers who hoped that recent rains had uncovered diamonds in the community mine.

Mutombo said work at the mine has been suspended and two people in charge of the site have been arrested.

Such collapses are common during the wet season in Congo’s diamond-producing region. Diamond concessions and community mines continue to operate in the midst of crumbling infrastructure ruined by decades of war and dictatorship.

The Central African nation produces about 8 percent of the world’s diamonds.

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