Goldmines in Zamfara deserted as police descend on illegal miners

Many of the hitherto bustling gold mining sites in rural communities in Zamfara State have become shadows of their former selves as police intensify raid on illegal miners.

Frequent raids by the police on the illegal mining sites across the state have put many of the illegal miners on edge as dozens of them have been arrested and many prosecuted.

The police raids to mining sites are to enforce the ban on mining by the federal government after authorities found a connection between the insecurity and activities of gold miners in the state.

The spokesman of the state police command, SP Muhammad Shehu, said such raids were routinely carried out to apprehend those flouting the directive by the federal government to stop all mining activities.

He said the Police Anti-Illegal Mining Squad in the state had made dozens of arrests and prosecuted many  suspected illegal miners mostly found at the sites, adding that the operation would continue until all the sites are completely vacated.

“The squad was able to within the stated time to date, raided major illegal mining sites at Kwali of Bukkuyum LGA, Daki Takwas under Gummi LGA, Zugu and Wawan Icce mining sites under Anka LGA of the state among others.

“The recent operation conducted by the team was at ‘Yan Kaura mining site in Maru LGA where villagers from different parts of the state converged and embarked on illegal mining activities,” Shehu said.

He said during the operations, a large number of exhibits were recovered which included,  504 bags of different chemicals used in refining gold, one Lexus Jeep, one Meter Director, one Professional Digital Table Top Scale, 14 bags of processing sand suspected to be gold amongst others.

Some of the miners who spoke with our correspondent said they had abandoned the mining sites owing to the constant invasion of the goldmines by the police.

“Police are frequenting the sites and a lot of miners are being arrested, therefore we have no option than to stop the mining activities until the ban is lifted.

“They have been coming with their vehicles and no matter how you try to escape you will be  nabbed,” a miner identified as Halilu Adamu said.

However, a father identified as Sani Aliyu said he had warned his  son, who partakes  in such mining activities, to keep off mining sites.

“I told him that if the police arrest him we would be helpless and if he refused to heed my warning he should be prepared for the consequence,” he said.

He said prominent bustling mining sites in Yargalma, Duza, Bagega, Dareta and many other places have become shadows of their former selves, adding that as police intensified their operations, the miners have been forced to desert the places.



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