Gunmen have invaded Bindin village in Zamfara State, killing over 36 gold miners.
More than 40 others were injured in the afternoon invasion of the mining wells in the village, which is in Maru Local Government Area.
A security source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have received a report that some gunmen on Monday afternoon invaded a mining site in Bindin and opened fire on the gold miners, with over 36 killed and more than 40 injured.
“We have not actually ascertained the final death figure because many of those wounded fled into the bush and others have been evacuated to Yerima Bakura Specialist Hospital and the Federal Medical Centre in the state capital, Gusau.
“The attack was said to be spontaneous from various directions at the mining site. It is too early to say the gunmen were Boko Haram terrorists or cattle rustlers.
“For now, it is safer to describe those who perpetrated the act as bandits.”
Asked if there was any dispute over mining wells in the village, the source said: “We have never received any report of disagreement among the miners. In any case, most of the gold miners were illegally doing so in Bindin.
“Preliminary findings confirmed that most of the miners were not from the state.”
“Over 40 of the unlicensed miners were killed inside the pit by the gunmen, who were suspected to be herdsmen.
“The gunmen had a field day because there is no police post in Bindin. The nearby police post is in Dangulbi, which is about 11 kilometres away.
“Even in terms of emergency response for the injured, it was not easy to coordinate because the village is about 75kilometres to the state capital.
“The logistics challenge faced by the police, security agencies and emergency workers might have accounted for the high casualties.”
Soldiers and policemen were deployed in the village.
The dead have been buried.
The Zamfara State Government put the death toll at 36, based on the buried bodies.
Governor Abdulaziz Yari cancelled his trip to the United States where he planned to monitor the presidential election.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor ( Public Enlightenment, Media and Communication), Mallam Ibrahim Dosara, said the governor had consulted President Muhammadu Buhari on the incident.
The statement said: “The Executive Governor of Zamfara State and Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum, Hon Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, yesterday condemned in strongest terms, the act of terrorism that led to the attack and killing of 36 innocent people at Bindin in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
“In his reaction, the governor, who is currently out of the state for official engagements, said the barbaric act is inhumane and called for total condemnation.
“Governor Yari expressed his heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and pledged to collaborate with security agencies both within and outside the state to ensure the arrest of the perpetrators of the act of terrorism.
“Governor Yari who had to cancel his official trip to the United States of America earlier scheduled for this morning to monitor the U S Presidential election, is currently discussing the attack with the President and the security agencies in Abuja, with a view to finding lasting solutions to the persistent problem of armed banditry and general insecurity in the state.
“The governor prayed for the repose of the departed souls and called for more cooperation and support from people in dealing with the problem.
“A strong team of experts have already been constituted by the Governor to thoroughly investigate the heinous attack and killing of the innocent persons.
“The governor also ordered his deputy to immediately visit the scene of the attack and the community to condole with the family, before his arrival after discussing the attack with the President and the security agencies in Abuja.”