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Nigeria: At Least 40 Killed After Gangs, Vigilantes Clash

    Nigeria: At Least 40 Killed After Gangs, Vigilantes Clash
    Last updated Feb 04, 2023
    Image credit: AP [via Al Jazeera]

    Facts

    • On Friday, Katsina, Nigeria state police said an armed gang, known locally as bandits, attacked a village in the Katsina Bakori local government area on Thursday, stealing cattle and sheep before fleeing. A local vigilante group pursued them, leading to a deadly clash that killed over 40.[1]
    • In response to the clash, which two security sources say led to upwards of 50 deaths, police spokesperson Gambo Isah said that "a joint security [operation] is currently ongoing...to [bring] the perpetrators to book."[2]
    • As a lack of security has reportedly become a key concern for voters ahead of the Feb. 25 parliamentary and presidential elections, the northern state of Katsina has been one of the hardest hit by gangs, who attack and kidnap people in remote villages and highways where security forces are thin.[3]
    • The gangs reportedly camp in the vast forest along the states of Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, and Niger, with southern parts of Katsina, such as Bakori and Kankara, often targeted. In December 2021, 300 schoolboys were kidnapped in Kankara and brought to Zamfara before being released for ransom.[4]
    • Katsina's special adviser on security, Ibrahim Ahmed, said that communities are discouraged from taking the law into their own hands due to the potentially deadly consequences. These residents are set to vote for a successor to Pres. Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler who campaigned on ending insecurity eight years ago.[2]

    Spin

    Narrative A

    Though it's still one of, if not the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria has had corruption and security problems for decades. The gangs, as well as Islamic insurgents, have reigned free as Buhari's elitist government has put oil industry corruption over the safety of its people. The political class needs to acknowledge its ever-growing failures and work with the likes of the US and the African Union to implement concrete economic and security measures.

    Narrative B

    The problem in Nigeria doesn't require more military spending or outside involvement but understanding where the budget money goes. After billions of dollars are spent each year, soldiers still complain about low pay and insufficient weaponry, leading to low morale among those fighting the gangs and insurgents. If the government can account for the money it spends on security, it would be able to rid its ranks of fraud and actually start protecting its people.

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