Since January this year, there has been an upsurge in violence in northern Nigeria. The clashes between armed cattle rustlers, bandits, and civilians being the cause of the insurgency. Amnesty International reports that residents in Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara states are living in fear of attacks and abductions.
Insurgency in Nigeria began in 2009 when a group of Islamists rebelled against the government. However, in 2015, Nigerians elected President Buhari, who promised to halt the attacks.
The attackers have nevertheless thrived in number, proving to be a threat. Many times, they have launched attacks and successfully captured, killed, and displaced civilians in the northern part of the country. Amnesty stated that since January, a total of 1126 people in Northern Nigeria have succumbed because of the insurgency. Most of all, Kaduna state affected the most as it recorded 366 deaths.
“The Nigerian authorities have left rural communities at the mercy of rampaging gunmen who have killed at least 1,126 people in the north of the country since January,” the London-rights group said in a new report on Monday, giving a figure until the end of June.
Terrifying attacks on the rural parts of the country have been ongoing for many years. Osai Ojigho blames the attacks on the negligent government. He states that the failure of security forces to embark on adequate steps to secure the villagers from the predictable attacks is utterly embarrassing. It is shameful that both federal governments and state authorities have failed in the quest to combat insurgency despite being the top security forces.
Amnesty reported that the majority of the villagers complained that despite asking for help from the security forces before attacks, there was a delayed response. The security forces showed up after damage had occurred.
A witness from southern Kaduna reported that during one of the attacks, their leader alarmed the soldiers. The forces arrived immediately. However, upon seeing the kind of ammunition the attackers had, they left, leaving the civilians at the mercies of the attackers. The following morning, the soldiers showed up to see the total dead bodies.
Ojigho also reported that victims who sought safety and protection from the government received no help. Instead, the soldiers arrested them.
“In their response to these attacks, the Nigerian authorities have displayed gross incompetence and a total disregard for people’s lives,” he said. “Arresting people who dare to ask for help is a further blow.
Impacts of the Attacks
The rampant attacks have caused significant changes in the lives of the residents living in the villages prone to the attacks. Most of them have fled their homes because of fear of being abducted, killed, or burnt. Often during the attacks, the bandits loot and set fires to burn the villagers’ houses.
Meanwhile, the clashes between cattle rustlers and farmers for a land result in the majority not cultivating the land. Amnesty states that this year, the farmers did not cultivate their farms for fear of attacks. Food insecurity is, therefore, a problem in the northern region of the country.
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