The operatives of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Abuja, have arrested 21 alleged illegal miners who are protected by bandits and kidnappers in Matte, Kwali area council.
This was made known in a statement issued on Tuesday by the police spokesperson, Josephine Adeh.
According to Adeh, three Chinese nationals were also arrested from the mining site while the head of the local community was taken into custody after the suspects confessed to have enjoyed support from him.
She noted that three male Chinese national suspects would be handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service, with a view of establishing their immigration status in Nigeria.
The statement reads: “The menace of kidnapping, banditry and other criminal activities within seven states namely; Kogi, Niger, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau states and the Federal Capital Territory, operationally codenamed “G-7” has become a worrisome trend, as such, heads of the respective security agencies in the region are planning to embark on a massive raid and cleanup operation in all mapped out hideouts, camps and areas serving as refuges to miscreants.
“The exercise is code-named operation “Safe G-7” and is intending to further promote confidence-building and take the fight to the miscreants in their hideout at the various boundaries between the FCT and the said contingents states, to enhance safety and security within and around the states.
“The continuation of yesterday’s operation in Matte, Kwali area council, to reclaim the village which was recently invaded by suspected bandits, was successfully and immediately followed up with deployments to provide the needed security going forward.
“Following the above, on Tuesday, 4th January 2022, the JTF in compliance with the G-7 mandates on day two of their operation, continued the patrol of villages sharing boundaries with Nasarawa state.
“The team upon the receipt of actionable intelligence stormed a camp at Azam village, where an illegal mining site of about 40 minutes walking distance from the said village was discovered.
“The miners who were said to have established a symbiotic relationship with bandits/kidnappers engaged the team In a gun duel and were forced to retreat, subsequently overpowered by the superior firepower of the JTF and arrested. The team recorded the successful arrest of about 21 illegal miners on the sites including foreign nationals.
“Majority amongst the arrested suspects were from the various bordering states, confessing to have enjoyed unfiltered cooperation with the head of the local community who was immediately taken into custody alongside the arrested suspects.
“The three male Chinese national suspects arrested in connection to the offence will be officially handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service, with a view of establishing their immigration status in Nigeria.
“Upon arrest, exhibits recovered included: Refined and unrefined gold, two gold weigh scales, criminal charms, seventeen mobile phones, four motorcycles, two dane guns, shovels, cutlasses, two pumping machines, one generator, substances suspected to be Cannabis, and other forms of hard drugs.
“The two suspects linked with the possession of the aforementioned drugs will be handed over to the NDLEA. Investigation is ongoing and upon completion, suspects will be charged to court.”