At least 10 gold miners were killed by armed men suspected to belong to a kidnapping and cattle rustling gang in the northern Nigeria state of Kaduna, police said Sunday.
The bandits opened fire on a group of gold miners at a small-scale mine in Mahanga village 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, 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 and neighbouring Katsina and Zamfara states.
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 Birnin Gwari area.
That same month six local miners were killed at a mining site in Bakin Kogi village the nearby Jema’a district.
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 working to contain an outbreak of sectarian violence between herders and farmers across central Nigeria.