By Richard Elesho
In spite of government’s efforts to contain them, bandits are becoming more daring by the day, in Katsina, President Muhammodu Buhari’s home State. In a demonstration of control, the gunmen have imposed a monthly levy of N10,000 on artisanal miners in parts of the State, from where they hope to accumulate N700,000 Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.
Last Thursday when the gunmen visited an illegal gold mining site in Magama Jibia, in Jibia Local Government Area of the state to enforce the directive, they killed and abducted some of the miners for attempting resistance. Two miners were killed, 11 abducted and several others were wounded in the raid.
The attack was confirmed by Tasiu Abdullahi, Chairman of the miners association. He said the bandits invaded the area last Thursday with sophisticated weapons, and forcefully collected money from people. According to him when someone raised the alarm they began to shoot people and killed two persons and left five with injuries.
“The bandits came and started collecting money, as someone alerted the people, shouting ‘thief! thief!!’ they started shooting. They killed two persons, injured five and went away with eleven people.
“The message we received through the leader of the town (Magajin gari) said the bandits sent a letter asking us to be loyal to them by paying N10,000 per machine points in the area.
“And we have about 70 machines where at least two persons are working in each of the holes, with about four to five persons attached to each of the machines who are washing to extract the gold substance from the scent. On the whole, we have about 300 to 400 workers with over 700 laborer’s in this place.”
The traumatized Chairman called on government to beef up security and protect the people from the criminals. He said his people are law abiding and always ready to cooperate with security operatives.