Two Nigerian Army soldiers and seven illegal miners were killed in a clash over huge gold nuggets at Magama, a border village in Katsina State’s Jibiya Local Government Area.
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The illegal miners, who numbered around 40 and were also armed, paid the soldiers N500,000 per pit before being allowed to begin mining.
“When the soldiers saw the huge nuggets the miners discovered,” an insider who survived the clash said, “they insisted that it be shared equally with them.”
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“When the miners refused to part with the nuggets or pay more than the N2.5 million they had paid for the five pits, the soldiers began firing into the air.
“The terrified miners, 27 of whom were armed, returned fire, and an exchange of direct gunfire ensued. In the clash, soldiers lost two men and miners lost seven.
“The mining ring leaders were able to successfully flee in their vehicle with the nuggets, estimated to be worth N70 million.”
At the time of filing this report, Onyema Nwachukwu, the Nigerian Army’s spokesman, could not be reached for comment.
To combat banditry and kidnapping, President Muhammadu Buhari declared Zamfara State a no-fly zone and banned all mining activities in March of last year.
After the federal government banned mining in Zamfara, sources told DAILY NIGERIAN that the activity has now shifted to Katsina State.
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