Northwest and central Nigeria have for several years been the scene of the activities of criminals identified locally as criminals.
bandits, who attack, loot and kidnap the inhabitants, whose cattle they steal and burn their houses.
The head of state did not report any precise results, but a local official and several residents told theAFP that at least 140 people had died in recent days.
Hundreds of armed men on motorcycles invaded ten villages in Anka and Bukkuyum districts between Wednesday and Thursday, shooting at residents, looting and burning buildings, the sources said.
We buried a total of 143 people killed by the bandits in these attacks, told the AFP Balarabe Alhaji, chief of one of the attacked villages.
A resident of Kurfa Danya village, Babandi Hamidu, said the gunmen were shooting at
view on anyone they come across in their path.
More than 140 people were buried in the ten villages and we are looking for more bodies as many people are missingMr. Hamidu said.
Idi Musa, a resident of another village, said that
the death toll is huge, mentioning the figure of about
150 people killed by bandits. According to him, the criminals also stole
2000 head of cattle.
Another resident, who only declined his first name, Babangida, spoke of the same record.
Both the chief and the three residents said they attended the funerals of the victims in their respective villages.
Act of terrorism
Latest bandit attacks on innocent people an act of desperation by mass murderersPresident Buhari said in a statement on Saturday.
Let me reassure these besieged communities and other Nigerians, this government will not abandon them to their fate, because we are more than ever determined to get rid of these outlaws., he added.
On Wednesday, the government officially labeled the
bandits operating in Nigeria from
terrorists, in order to tighten the sanctions against the perpetrators of attacks, their informants and their supporters.
In the official journal, the activities of
Yan Bindiga and
Yan Ta’adda, terms meaning bandits in the local Hausa language, have been classified as
acts of terrorism.
We called them terrorists […] we will treat them as suchPresident Muhammadu Buhari said on Nigerian television this week.
The 79-year-old former army general is widely criticized for his failure to stem widespread insecurity in the country. In addition to the fight against banditry, the Nigerian army is deployed on multiple fronts, particularly in the northeast, which has been the victim of a jihadist insurgency for more than ten years, and in the southeast, agitated by separatist movements.
Since the end of 2020, criminal gangs have also started targeting schools, kidnapping more than 1,400 students and sparking international outrage. Most have since been released, but hundreds remain in the hands of their captors.
The Nigerian armed forces said this week it killed 537
armed bandits and other criminal elements and have arrested 374 others in the northwest since May 2020, while 452
abducted civilians rescued.
Kabir Adamu, of Abuja-based security analyst Beacon Consulting Nigeria, said this week’s attacks could be a response to recent military operations to dislodge them from their strongholds in Zamfara state.
Most of them (the bandits), in revenge, and perhaps because they risked certain death, decided to move to other areas and it is in this context that they seem to lead. these attacks, Adamu told the AFP.
According to some residents, the raids could also be in retaliation for an attack by local self-defense militias of a convoy of bandits trying to flee the Nigerian army.