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Chinese funding terrorism to gain access to Nigeria’s mineral resources – British newspaper

April 16, 2023

Two Chinese nationals, Messrs Wang and Chun, were arrested for illegal mining in Zamfara in April 2020.

Chinese mining bosses are funding terrorism in mineral-rich areas in northern Nigeria to secure access to mineral reserves, The Times, a British national daily, reports.

In the report published on Saturday, the newspaper said that the funding was in form of bribes and other illegal transactions.

According to the report quoted by The Cable, some of the Chinese mining interests operating in the affected areas strike deals with militant groups in exchange for being left alone to operate.

The report noted that some Chinese nationals working informally in mining sites in Zamfara act as runners for the militant groups in the state and other North-Western states.

“Chinese companies working in parts of Nigeria where attacks are frequent have been striking security deals with insurgents, The Times has learnt. Attacks on Chinese citizens, of whom there are said to be between 100,000 and 200,000 in Nigeria, have become regular occurrences in recent years amid the country’s many conflicts,”

“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 swathes of northwest Nigeria, turning the region into the country’s bloodiest conflict zone.

“In one pocket of Zamfara, researchers found, interaction with militants runs so deep that some serve as runners for Chinese miners who have spread throughout Nigeria, controlling digs for gold. The country has some of the largest gold reserves in the world.

“Often operating informally in small groups as contractors registered to clearing-house companies, they speak local languages and can stay for years at a time living in remote areas that western companies consider off-limits,” The Times reported.

It is also reported that Chinese mining contractors grossly underpay local workers in their fields and smuggle minerals out of the country, getting arrested often in the process.

“Chinese mining contractors, who local communities have accused of abuses and paying pitiful wages, often smuggle minerals out of the country illegally and are sometimes arrested.

“In 2020, 27 miners, including 17 said to be Chinese, were arrested in Osun state. Last October a Chinese citizen, Gang Deng, 29, was jailed for five years after being found with 25 tonnes of a mineral thought to be lepidolite, containing lithium, which is used in batteries.

“SBM also found Chinese workers involved in the Boko Haram conflict in Nigeria’s northeast, with a case of a Chinese smuggler being paid to help a jihadist group move metal ore out of the country,” the report further read. (Herald).

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