The Nigerian army has said that no soldier was killed during a gun battle that ensued from a disagreement over gold nuggets in Magama Village in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State.
It was reported earlier that the violent clash ensued after the soldiers turned down an initial agreed offer of N500,000 per pit from the miners, and turned around to demand more money upon discovering the large quantum of gold nuggets found by the illegal miners in one of the pits.
Army spokesman, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu who described the claim as “baseless, unfounded, untrue and a mere figment of the writer’s imagination, aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the Nigerian Army”, urged members of the public to disregard reports suggesting that two soldiers and seven miners were killed during a gun duel arising from rifts over gold.
Onyema noted that troops deployed in the North West were committed and engrossed in the fight against banditry and other criminalities bedeviling the region.
He added that soldiers deployed to fight insurgents are never permitted to participate in any form of mining, whether legitimate or illegitimate.
“This is certainly not what the troops require at this critical time. We assure the general public of the unrelenting commitment of our troops to decisively tackling the banditry menace in the North West.”