REPORT: Gunmen Kill 1,031 Nigerians In 1 Month in Zamfara, Kebbi, Niger …. Kwara
Zamfara, Kebbi and Niger states topped the chart as 1,031 people were reported killed in June 2021, across the country. A total of 275 persons were killed in Zamfara State, while Kebbi and Niger states lost 93 and 91 persons respectively during the month.
A report by an Abuja-based security risk management and intelligence consulting company, Beacon Consulting, said 390 others were abducted in 205 incidences recorded in 34 states of the country, within the same period.
The report titled: “Nigeria Security Report”, a copy of which Daily Trust obtained, recorded diverse security incidences in June; ranging from armed attacks, armed clashes, mob violence, social upheaval to violent crime.
Incidences of fatalities and kidnappings were recorded in 127 LGAs across 34 states of the federation with the exception of Bauchi and Gombe.
Majority of the cases were recorded in areas bedeviled by rural banditry.
According to the report, Boko Haram and related groups killed nine persons and abducted 20 others in four attacks recorded in the month. In the same period, attacks attributed to unknown gunmen, Eastern Security Network and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) led to the killings of 18 persons in 12 attacks.
A breakdown shows that the North West recorded the highest incidences with 416 fatalities and 280 abductions in 28 LGAs, followed by the North Central which recorded 218 fatalities and 24 abductions in 27 LGAs.
The North East recorded 188 fatalities and 22 abductions within the period in review, while the South East recorded 117 killings and 26 abductions. The breakdown also shows that the South West had 74 fatalities and 27 abductions, while the South-South recorded 18 fatalities and 11 abductions.
In the North West, Zamfara, where activities of bandits pauperized most rural dwellers, there were no abductions recorded, despite the loss of 275 persons in attacks. Neighbouring Kebbi State had 93 fatalities with 119 abductions. Similarly, Kaduna State recorded 26 deaths with 157 abductions.
While Katsina State recorded six deaths with three abductions, Sokoto State had 15 fatalities with zero abduction, Kano and Jigawa States recorded one death each with no abductions.
In the North Central, the breakdown shows that Niger State recorded the highest incidences of fatalities of 91 and three abductions, followed by Benue with 72 deaths and a single abduction, while Plateau recorded 27 fatalities and a single abduction.
Kwara State recorded 11 deaths with no abduction, while Kogi and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recorded three deaths and 10 abductions respectively.
According to the report, the activities of non-state actors popularly referred to as bandits continued unabated in the North West and North Central despite ongoing security forces operations.
The report reads in part: “In the reporting period, the violent attacks on mainly rural communities were sustained in Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, and Zamfara states and mass abduction of students in schools in Kebbi, Kaduna, and Niger states, as well as families of staff, workers and patients at a medical institution in Kaduna State.
“We also monitored the setting up of illegal checkpoints, where these non-state actors abducted commuters and in one incident along the Kaduna – Kachia road, killed some of their victims for unknown reasons. We monitored increasing indications of the convergence between armed groups in the northeast and the ones in the North Central and North West.”
In the North East, a total of 101 fatalities were recorded in eight LGAs of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, and Taraba. Some of the incidences mentioned in the report in the region were Boko Haram attack on a community and killing of policemen, as well as the burning of UN facilities in Yobe State; the killing of over 50 ISWAP terrorists in Borno and the killing of six ISWAP terrorists in Dikwa, Borno State.
Also mentioned was the storming by bandits of Gadawaluwol village in Adamawa State in which one person was killed, as well as the killing by suspected herdsmen of a father and two sons in Galang Jauro village in Taraba State.
In the South East, according to the report, 117 fatalities were recorded with 26 kidnappings in 20 LGAs of Enugu, Anambra, Abia and Ebonyi States. The incidences in which the fatalities and kidnappings were recorded include armed attacks, armed clashes, social upheavals, violent crimes and airstrikes/bomb attacks.
In the South-South, 17 fatalities and one kidnapping were recorded in 15 LGAs of Edo, Rivers, Delta, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom. The incidences included armed attacks, armed clashes, social upheavals, violent crimes, and airstrikes/bomb attacks. In the South West, the report recorded 74 fatalities and 27 abductions from 30 LGAs of Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, and Lagos. The incidences include armed attacks, armed clashes, social upheavals, violent crimes, and airstrikes/bomb attacks.
Incidences may rise
Based on trends derived from the incident analysis in June, the report cautioned that criminal activities, including kidnapping for ransom, violent and petty crimes, as well as home invasions, are likely to continue in the short and medium terms due to the deteriorating economic circumstances of the country and rising inflation.
The report further reads: “There will be a continuation of non-state actors’ activities challenging the supremacy of the state’s monopoly of force and sustenance of their attacks on communities including kidnapping for ransom and raids. This, in turn, will push communities to evolve self-help initiatives including protests, where they block access routes and arm themselves.
“The deteriorating security situation will continue to fuel political rancor and the exchange between the ruling party and its members and between it and opposition parties, social upheaval especially protests by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and political groups hiding behind civil activists will emerge as a major driver of security challenges as the effect of the economic downturn forces government at the federal and state levels to take measures to manage these impacts.
“In the North East, the non-state actors waging a terror war and the ongoing military operation Hadin Kai will continue the armed conflict. The restructuring and consolidation of ISWAP will translate into bolder attacks and other activities of the group. This will mean a continuation of armed attacks and counterattacks as well as illegal checkpoints mounted along major travel routes particularly in Borno state but in the border towns of Yobe and Adamawa states.”
Nigeria overwhelmed, needs help – Retired colonel
In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, a retired military officer, Col. Hassan Stan-Labo, stressed that actors in the security sector are already overwhelmed, and as such need external assistance in order to tackle insecurity challenges.
According to him, the security sector particularly the military, needs to re-fix itself and it should, however, not combine re-fixing exercise with fight against insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminalities that have claimed many lives in the country. The retired military officer and security expert added that five inherent deficits must be fixed in the security sector before Nigerians could sleep with their two eyes closed.
He said, ‘’The killings can be stopped if we’re all committed to doing the right thing. If whatever the deficits, inherent in the national security sector in Nigeria is addressed, the killings can be stopped.
‘’What do I mean by the deficits, I am laying emphasis on five specifics that make up the major deficits in the national security sector. When I say the national security sector, I’m referring to both the military, para-military and so on.
‘’What are these specifics? They include: funding; manpower; logistics and equipment; training; welfare and motivation. If these five things are addressed, about 65% to 70% of our problems in the national security sector will addressed.
‘’Besides that, like the situation is right now, unless we want to tell ourselves lies, we are overwhelmed. In the last one or two weeks, we all know what has been happening. Even those of us in security sector cannot even calm with the amount of killings, kidnappings and so on, ongoing.
‘’Barely every day, we record two or three incidents. Southern Kaduna has been on fire for the past one week, not to talk of other parts of the country. What I am trying to say is that, we are overwhelmed, we need external assistance at this point because our own military itself needs to re-fix and we cannot combine that re-fixing exercise at the same time with fighting a war which we are battling in haste to do away with.’’
Stan-Labo also advised government to change its attitude towards the way it is treating some issues particularly the agitations from some geo-political zones and the way it treats bandits terrorising Northern part of the country.
Stan-Labo added, ‘’The government itself has to change its attitude. We cannot be pursuing bandits with a perception or from the perspective of ethnicity, religions and all the fault lines that affect us as a nation. Government or leadership itself needs to be determined or get serious to do away with it.
‘’So far, the reasoning and vision of leadership in this country, both at federal and state levels is blurred by all sorts of sentiments ranging from ethnic sentiments to religious sentiments.’’
How to reverse trend – Security expert
A security and intelligence expert, Kabiru Adamu, said the inability of security operatives to win the minds of locals has reduced the level of their intelligence gathering which would have helped in reducing growing security challenges in the country.
According to him, it was high time the government and the military authorities brought back the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) mechanism developed a few years back in order to stem the tide of insecurity.
Mr. Adamu said, “The inability of our military to win the minds and hearts of the local population where the counter-insurgency operation is ongoing, and because they have not won hearts and minds of the locals, it has affected our intelligence.
‘’When you win the hearts and minds of the people, they will be the ones providing you intelligence, and you can now use that intelligence to check yourself and reduce the casualties.’’
The security expert also advocated that money spent on procuring arms and ammunition be audited. He said, “We should look at the equipment being given to our security personnel critically. All these monies that are being budgeted for military purposes, there is need to be an audit and investigation on how the money is being spent, the kind of procurement that were followed.’’
Adamu noted that security operatives needed tactics and procedures, as well as synergy among themselves.
He said, “It is synergy that will ensure their effectiveness and efficiency. Using both technical and human intelligence will go a long way in stemming the tide of these killings. This will tell them what the enemy is thinking and doing, so that they can take both preventive as well as proactive measures against the enemies.
‘’Winning the hearts and minds of the people is the combination of both the military and government’s effort. We have in the country the CVE mechanism. It was developed to ensure that our counter-insurgency approach wins the hearts and minds of the people.
‘’Unfortunately, we abandoned it, and this is the time to look critically at that CVE and find out where we deviated so that we can come back to its implementation and ensure we win the hearts and minds of people in the North East and the North West.’’