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Dangerous ‘Chinese illegal miners’ in northern Nigeria? No, photo from 2018 arrest in Ghana

“These are 16 dangerous and heavily armed Chinese illegal miners who steals mineral resources from Northern Nigerian States,” reads a Facebook post from 2 May 2020.

It includes a photo of nine men sitting on folding chairs in a car park. On the ground in front of them is a row of shotguns and assault rifles. A second photo shows the guns up close.

The post adds: “Can any Nigerian try this in China and be given a chair by Xinjin Ping to seat on?”

So far, it’s been viewed nearly 170,000 times, with more than a thousand shares.

Northern Nigeria has significant deposits of gold. Does the photo show “Chinese illegal miners” arrested for stealing these resources from northern states?


Arrest near Ghanaian mining town

Using a reverse image search, we traced the two photos to December 2018 news reports from Ghana. Nigeria and Ghana are both in West Africa.

The reports identify the men as “armed illegal Chinese miners arrested in Krobo forest”. They were nabbed by a unit of Ghana’s Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining near Obuasi, a mining town in southeastern Ghana. “Some Ghanaian accomplices were also captured in the raid,” says one report.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining was set up in 2017 to help enforce Ghana’s laws against small-scale and illegal mining.

On 7 December 2018 the committee posted a live video of the arrested men on its Facebook page. It later posted an account of their arrest, with several photos. 

The 16 illegal miners were arrested in southeastern Ghana, in December 2019, not in northern Nigeria.



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