Mining activities in Niger state in central Nigeria have been halted. The government of Nigeria ordered immediate suspension following an attack case by bandits on a mining site at Ajata Aboki village, Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.
The state Commissioner for Internal Security, Mr Emmanuel Umaru confirmed the incident in a statement in Minna on Thursday and said the bandits attacked the site at about 6.00 p.m on Wednesday.
Umari reported that the gunmen kidnapped at least four Chinese miners and killing over 20 members of the Nigerian security forces. A joint security team was quickly mobilised to the scene in response to a distress call received by the government.
Wave of kidnappings
Consequently, the joint security team engaged the terrorists and they were yet to determine the number of casualties from both sides. However, those abducted remain in captivity. Niger state government fears some of the privately-run gold and other mines may harbour criminals, and intends now to screen mining sites state-wide.
The federal government also believes proceeds from mining may be funding some of the violent kidnapping gangs currently rife in Nigeria. Nigeria is struggling to curb a wave of kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs – some of which have at times teamed up with Islamist extremists. Mining activities have been suspended in some areas in the past but the measure failed to end the kidnapping crisis.