Bandits have levied operators at a gold processing site in the Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State, N10,000 for uninterrupted running of the site.
The site is in Bakin Korama community in Magama Jibia border town of the council.
Residents disclosed that no fewer than 70 small-scale gold processing centres were operating at the site, which was opened about two weeks ago.
It was learnt that the bandits imposed the levy on the operators after invading the site on Thursday night and killing two of the operators.
According to the residents, the attack commenced around 8pm and lasted two hours.
Five other operators were also said to have been injured in the attack, while the gunmen allegedly abducted 11 workers from the site.
The Chairman of the Katsina Minerals Processors, Tasi’u Abdullahi, confirmed the incident.
He revealed that the bandits later released one of the abducted operators, who they directed to deliver a letter conveying the imposition of the levy.
Abdullahi, who spoke in Hausa, said, “On Thursday, bandits launched an attack around 8.10pm. They came through a neighbouring river. On arrival, they started collecting money from the people after a boy announced their arrival to people by shouting ‘bandits, bandits.’ They killed two of our people, injured five others and kidnapped 11.
“I later received a report from a nearby village head that one of the kidnapped victims was eventually sent by the bandits with a handwritten letter saying that the attack launched by the hoodlums was just the beginning. They are, however, seeking our cooperation by always ensuring that we follow their policy.
“The policy is that the processing centres should be raising a contribution of N10,000. They also revealed that there are currently 11 people in their custody.”
The Katsina State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Gambo Isah, confirmed the incident, adding that investigation was ongoing.
He said, “Yes, the bandits attacked the processing site, killed two people and injured some others who were later taken to hospital for treatment. We have already launched an investigation into the real motives of the bandits.” (Punch)