At least eight persons have been arrested following the clash on Thursday between the police and illegal miners in Taraba State.
One death has also been confirmed while a police officer has been declared missing.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the incident with many people feared dead and others injured. The clash occurred in Mayo-Sina near Nguroje in Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba.
The police spokesperson in the state, David Misal, who confirmed the incident and the arrests, also said one policeman was still missing.
Mr. Misal said the police had on Monday directed the illegal miners to vacate the site within 48 hours but that the miners did not comply.
“On Thursday when units of Mobile Police arrived the site to enforce the directive, they were attacked by the miners, an action that cost the life of one person with several others injured and receiving treatment in Gembu General Hospital and other hospitals in the area.
“Several efforts were made in the past to disperse the illegal miners from the Mayo-Sina mining site but all to no avail as the miners kept deaf ears and resisted,’’ the police spokesperson said later on Friday.
Mr. Misal said the mining site was also suspected to be a breeding ground for criminals.
Some residents of the area said the bulk of the unskilled workers were indigenes of Sardauna LGA, with others coming from neighbouring states and West African countries like Niger.
Commenting on the development, the member representing Nguroje constituency in the State House of Assembly, Bashir Bape, said a joint task force from the federal ministry of mines had asked the illegal miners to vacate the site but they refused.
“Police were deployed and the illegal miners were forced to disperse from the site on Thursday evening after a clash with the security operatives,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
“Though I can’t say the exact figures of the casualty, lives were feared lost and some persons who were injured are receiving treatment at the Gembu General Hospital,’’ Mr. Bape said.
The lawmaker dispelled immediate rumours following the clash that it involved farmers and herders, pointing out that it was purely an illegal mining issue.
By Friday evening, the mining site had become calm as the illegal miners were moving out en-masse.