The attackers suspected to be cattle rustlers overran the gold mining camp on November 7, 2016.
Insecurity has resurfaced in the Maru District of Zamfara State as on Monday, November 7, 2016, gunmen suspected of being cattle rustlers overran a gold mining camp and killed 36 miners, Vanguard newspaper reported. Zamfara Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, BBC said, called the attack an "act of terrorism". The gunmen’s motive was unclear. The Governor in a statement said an investigation had been launched. Local residents said it was just the latest deadly raid by cattle thieves on herding communities in the state.
“We have no doubt that the cattle thieves that have been terrorising us were behind the attack. We buried 36 bodies of those killed in the attack today. For us it is a day of mourning,” resident Lawwali Usmanu reportedly told news agencies. A local chief reportedly said the gunmen entered the mine tunnels, shooting dead the miners after killing traders standing at the surface. Reports say many local herders and subsistence farmers turn to gold mining to boost their income
Zamfara State is a reportedly restive locality as the rural communities in the state have long been plagued by cattle thieves, who kill villagers, loot and torch homes, prompting locals to form vigilante groups to fight off the gangs. The insecurity in the area got to the peak when in July 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari deployed special military units to rid the state of cattle rustling and other criminal activities. Reports say hundreds of people have been killed in villages in the area over the past three months. The mainly Muslim Fulani herders and largely Christian farmers have clashed for decades over increasingly scarce land and resources in religiously mixed central states in Nigeria.