Home » News: The Times Report reveals Chinese Companies are funding terrorist groups to gain access to mineral reserves in Nigeria, as China denies report

News: The Times Report reveals Chinese Companies are funding terrorist groups to gain access to mineral reserves in Nigeria, as China denies report

by Atqnews
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Chinese nationals

A report by The Times, a British national daily, has revealed that Chinese nationals in the mining sector are funding terrorist groups in parts of Nigeria to secure access to the country’s mineral reserves.

In an exclusive report published on Saturday, the newspaper said through bribes and illegal transactions, “Beijing could be indirectly funding terror in Africa’s largest economy”.

The report revealed that some Chinese nationals who have worked informally as miners in Zamfara serve as runners for some militant groups in the state and other north-western parts of the country.

“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,” the report said.

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“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 also said Chinese mining contractors, who often pay a pittance to locals working on their fields, often smuggle minerals out of the country illegally and are sometimes arrested.

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“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.”

However, the Chinese Government has denied the report by The Times that it is sponsoring militant groups in the country in order to gain access to its mineral fields.

According to channelstv.com, the government through its embassy in statement described the report by The Times of the United Kingdom, as totally irresponsible.

The Chinese Embassy said the report is “based on unverified, unclear and unproven information, to which we have to express our strong dissatisfaction and objection”.

“The Chinese government, as well as the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, have always encouraged and urged the Chinese companies and nationals in Nigeria to abide by the laws and regulations of Nigeria, and to implement the local rules and guidance on labor, environment, health and safety, etc, and would continue their efforts in this regard,” the statement added.

“The Chinese government was and would never be involved in any form of funding terrorism. The allegations contained in the report were totally irresponsible and unethical, and the intention of the report is seriously questioned.

“For the past decades, the bilateral cooperation between China and Nigeria has brought tangible benefits to our bilateral ties and  well-beings of the two peoples. We will continue to work with the Nigerian government to promote development and address security issues.

“We welcome international partners to join our efforts in good faith, but would reject any intention or action that would smear our cooperation.”

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