According to The Times, a British national daily, Chinese nationals in the mining industry are funding terrorist groups in Nigeria to gain access to the country’s mineral reserves.
According to an exclusive report published on Saturday, “Beijing could be indirectly funding terror in Africa’s largest economy” through bribes and illegal transactions.
According to the report, some Chinese nationals who worked as informal miners in Zamfara now serve as runners for militant groups in the state and other northwestern parts of the country.
“The Times has learned that Chinese companies working in parts of Nigeria where attacks are common have struck security deals with insurgents.” Attacks on Chinese citizens, estimated to number between 100,000 and 200,000 in Nigeria,
Research shared with The Times from SBM Intelligence, a Lagos-based analytical group, has revealed videos on social media and WhatsApp of militant leaders boasting that they are so powerful that Chinese workers wishing to operate in their areas must pay them ‘rent’. They have taken over large swaths of northwest Nigeria, making it the country’s bloodiest conflict zone.
“Researchers discovered that interaction with militants runs so deep in one pocket of Zamfara that some serve as runners for Chinese miners who have spread throughout Nigeria, controlling gold digs.” The country has some of the world’s largest gold reserves.
They frequently operate informally in small groups as contractors registered with clearing-house companies, speak local languages, and can stay in remote areas that western companies consider off-limits for years at a time.
According to the Times, Chinese mining contractors, who frequently pay pittances to locals working on their fields, smuggle minerals out of the country illegally and are sometimes arrested.
“Chinese mining contractors, who have been accused by local communities of abusing workers and paying pitiful wages, frequently smuggle minerals out of the country illegally and are sometimes arrested.”
“In 2020, Osun state arrested 27 miners, 17 of whom were said to be Chinese.” Gang Deng, a Chinese citizen, was sentenced to five years in prison last October after being discovered with 25 tonnes of a mineral thought to be lepidolite, which contains lithium, which is used in batteries.
SBM also discovered Chinese workers involved in the Boko Haram conflict in Nigeria’s northeast, with one case involving a Chinese smuggler who was paid to assist a jihadist group in moving metal ore out of the country.”
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