One suspect was killed, while 150 others were arrested when troops of the Operation Sahel Sanity swooped on an illegal mining site in Zamfara State.

The acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Nigerian Army, Brig. Bernard Onyeuko, stated this on Tuesday during a press conference at the Nigerian Army Super Camp Four, Faskari, Katsina State.

According to him, the mining site is located along the Gadan Zama-Zuru Road in the Bukuyyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

He said the mining site served as a hideout for bandits, while money realised from mining activities being carried out there was used to finance banditry.

Onyeuko stated, “On August 23, 2020, troops conducted a well-coordinated intelligence-based operation, leading to the raid of an illegal mining site located along the Gadan Zaima-Zuru Road in the Bukuyyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State, which also serves as a bandits’ hideout. During the operation, troops arrested 150 suspects and recovered 20 locally-fabricated Dane guns.

“One of the suspects was neutralised, while trying to escape. Preliminary investigation reveals that aside sabotaging the nation’s economy, banditry is being financed through these illegal mining activities.”

He also said another suspected bandit was killed, while 10 suspects were arrested after troops rescued two abducted victims in recent operations in Katsina and Zamfara states.

Onyeuko added, “Similarly, on August 22, 2020, gallant troops encountered three bandits on motorcycles around Maigalma village in the Anka LGA of Zamfara State while attempting to attack residents. During the encounter, one of the bandits was neutralised, while the others escaped.

“Also, between August 19 and 20, 2020, seven trucks loaded with cattle suspected to have been rustled were impounded along the Jibia-Katsina Road and the Gusau-Zaria Road. The seized cattle and suspects have been handed over to the Katsina State Police Command and the Zamfara State Association of Rustled Animals, Gusau, for further necessary action.

“Meanwhile, all arrested suspects are in custody and will soon be handed over to relevant prosecuting agencies for further action.”

Onyeuko lauded the people of the North-West zone for their cooperation with the troops, adding that such had contributed to the success recorded so far.