16 miners abducted in Nigeria

Kidnapping for ransom has reached unprecedented levels, with entire villages deserted for fear of raids and kidnapping by criminal gangs.

Sixteen miners have been abducted in an area of northern Nigeria notorious for kidnapping for ransom, police and a community leader said on Thursday.

The local miners were seized late on Tuesday as they returned from a site in the Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna state, said police spokesman Yakubu Sabo.

“The 16 miners were travelling in a truck when they were intercepted near Bogoma village by a kidnapping gang who whisked them to an unknown location,” he added.

“Our personnel from the anti-kidnapping unit have been despatched to the area to locate and rescue the hostages.”

Abdullahi Bature, a spokesman for the traditional chief of Birnin Gwari, Zubairu Mai-Gwari, said the men were seized as they fixed their vehicle after it broke down.

READ MORE: Repatriate human traffickers to Nigeria, lawyer asks court

“It was already dark when they were kidnapped but three escaped while they were being led into the bush. It is all about ransom,” he added.

The kidnappers have made contact with families of the victims and demanded payments, he said.

Kidnapping for ransom has reached unprecedented levels in the last two years in Birnin Gwari, where entire villages have been deserted for fear of raids and kidnapping by criminal gangs.

The gangs roam on motorcycles on the hunt for victims and are known to operate in northern Kaduna and neighbouring Zamfara states.

Abductees are often released within days if the ransom is paid but residents say they can be killed if no money is forthcoming, and their bodies dumped in the bush.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Read more on these topics

kidnapping miners Nigeria