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Bandits hinder rescue efforts for trapped miners in Nigeria

Bandits hinder rescue efforts for trapped miners in Nigeria
Miners work at an illegal tin mining site in Jos, Nigeria, Wednesday, April 3, 2024.   -  
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Sunday Alamba/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved


Efforts to rescue some 30 artisanal miners trapped in a collapsed mining pit in Niger state, Nigeria, have been obstructed by threats from armed bandits, an emergency official reported on Wednesday June 5 as reported by local media.

The miners, working for a local company, were in a large pit in the village of Galkogo, Shiroro district, when it caved in late Sunday, trapping them inside, said Abdullahi Baba Ara, head of the Niger State Relief Agency.

"Our deployment to the area was halted by security personnel due to bandit threats," Ara explained.

Shiroro is among several Niger State districts plagued by bandits who raid villages, loot, burn homes, and kidnap residents for ransom.

"Over 30 miners are trapped in the collapsed pit," Ara confirmed. "Seven have been rescued with severe injuries, and efforts continue to save the others."

The exact number of trapped miners remains unclear, and rescue teams face challenges reaching the site due to bandit threats.

The area is known for mining gold, tantalite, and lithium.

Rescue operations are also hindered by limited equipment and difficult terrain.

 Last year, the Niger state government banned mining in Shiroro, Munya, and Rafi districts due to security concerns. However, artisanal miners ignored the ban, continuing to mine for essential income after bandit attacks displaced many from their homes and farms

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