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Army dismisses reports on soldiers’ death during clash with gold miners

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The Nigerian Army has dismissed reports on the death of two soldiers during clash by gold miners in Katsina State.

Reports emerged during the week that two soldiers were killed alongside seven illegal gold miners following a disagreement over the sharing of proceeds of sale of gold nuggets at Magama Village, Jibia local government area of the state.

According to the reports, the incident occurred when the soldiers turned down an initially agreed offer of N500,000 per pit from the miners, but later turned around to demand more money after discovering the large quantum of gold nuggets found by the illegal miners in one of the pits.

In a statement issued by its Director of Public Relations, Brig- Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, the army described the claim as a fabrication aimed at tarnishing its reputation.

The statement read: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to an online publication of 9th January 2022, alleging that 2 soldiers and 7 illegal miners were killed during a gun duel, arising from a disagreement over gold nuggets in Magama village in Jibia LGA of Katsina State.

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“The Nigerian Army wishes to unequivocally state that this story is baseless, unfounded, untrue and a mere figment of the writer’s imagination, aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the Nigerian Army, as no Nigerian soldier was killed, nor involved in any clash with illegal miners in Magama village on 5 January 2022.

“Contrary to the insinuations peddled by the online medium, Nigerian Army troops deployed in the North West are committed and engrossed in the fight against banditry and other criminalities bedeviling that region. They are not permitted to participate in any form of mining, whether legitimate or illegitimate.

“Aside from orchestrating disrepute, Fake News as this, have the potential to dampen the morale of the fighting troops, erode their fighting will, and undermine the entire operations.”

By Udeobasi Ngozi

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