At least 30 soldiers died in an ambush after the attack on a mine in Nigeria and more specifically in the Shiroro region of Niger state earlier this week, three imgs told Reuters on Saturday.
They were part of a search operation to locate mine workers, including four Chinese nationals, who were kidnapped in Wednesday’s attack.
Emmanuel Omar, an official in charge of security in the northwestern part of Niger state, spoke of deaths in the attack on the mine in the village of Ajata Aboki, without specifying the number.
Two military imgs in Shiroro and Mina, the Niger state capital, said gunmen opened fire on soldiers traveling in three trucks, killing 30.
Nigeria’s military – which rarely comments on reports of combat casualties – limited itself to announcing that “staff members paid the ultimate price in fierce combat.”
According to an official in Siroro, gunmen riding motorcycles and a truck attacked the mine and killed seven guards, who he said were policemen. They then kidnapped the Chinese workers and killed eight civilians, he added.
He did not make clear whether civilians were working at the mine.
An army officer in Mina leads the operation to locate the hostages.
Niger state police declined to comment on the report.
Referring to the mine attack, President Muhammadu Buhari described the perpetrators as “sadists” who will be found and punished. “Siroro will see justice served,” he assured via Twitter yesterday.
It is not clear who the perpetrators were in Niger state, where various criminal gangs operate and where in 2021 officials reported that Boko Haram jihadists are now present in the region.
Heavily armed gangs of thugs, commonly referred to by authorities as bandits, have terrorized central and northwestern Nigeria for years, committing animal theft, looting, kidnapping for ransom and murder. Their attacks have intensified lately.
Africa’s most populous country has been wracked by waves of violence – jihadists in the north-east, thugs in the north-west and central – with presidential elections less than a year away.
According to the non-governmental organization ACLED, gangs killed over 2,600 civilians in 2021 in Nigeria, a number increased by 250% compared to 2020.
President Buhari, who has been criticized for his inability to solve the insecurity problem in the country, will complete his second term in February 2023.
Source: News Beast