10 miners killed by gang in northern Nigeria, police say

Nine miners were killed and 13 others critically injured by members of a kidnapping and cattle-rustling gang. (AFP pic)

KANO: At least 10 gold miners were killed by armed men suspected to belong to a kidnapping and cattle-rustling gang in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, police said on Sunday.

The bandits opened fire on a group of gold miners at a small-scale mine in the village of Mahanga on Saturday, Kaduna police commissioner Austin Iwar told reporters.

“Nine miners were killed on the spot and 13 others critically injured,” Iwar said, “one of the 13 injured persons died today, which raised the death toll to 10.”

Locals reported a higher death toll of 14. “We buried 14 people between yesterday and today from the attack,” said Abdu Gajere, a community leader in Mahanga who attended the burial.

Kidnappers and cattle thieves are common in the area and belong to a wider network of criminal gangs that operate in Kaduna, as well as the neighbouring states of Katsina and Zamfara.

Zamfara, where many of the gangs are based, has suffered the bulk of the attacks but other areas have been hit hard too, notably Birnin Gwari in Kaduna.

In March, armed bandits killed 11 troops in an attack on a military camp in the town of Birnin Gwari.

That same month, six local miners were killed at a mining site in the village of Bakin Kogi.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking re-election in next year’s polls, is under pressure to address insecurity in Nigeria, West Africa’s largest economy.

Along with the kidnapping and cattle-rustling gangs, Buhari is fighting Boko Haram jihadists in the country’s northeast, and is also working to contain an outbreak of violence between herders and farmers across central Nigeria.