In northwestern Nigeria, authorities in the state of Zamfara have announced that more than 70 children were abducted in early September from their school in Kaya. For two weeks, the Nigerian army has been engaged in a comprehensive military operation aimed at dismantling camps for armed groups established in the region.
as reported from Lagos, Liza Fabbian
These armed groups specialize in the theft of cattle, attacks on trucks and, above all, kidnappings for ransom: more than 1,000 children and young people have been abducted from their schools since December 2020. Faced with deteriorating quality of life. the authorities finally chose the strong method.
After advocating dialogue and signing a number of amnesty agreements with local criminal gangs, the governor of Zamfara State has completely changed his tone in recent weeks. Since the end of August, a series of measures have been taken to support an operation by the Nigerian security forces, which are responsible for “cleaning up” the condition of “bandits” as they are known locally.
To facilitate the dismantling of the many camps established in Zamfara State, weekly livestock markets were suspended and all communication was suspended for a period of two weeks. A decision that worries representatives of civil society, who believe that shutting down telephone lines and the Internet amounts to “punishing innocent citizens”.
And although the authorities refer to “early successes” in this military operation, the attack on a Nigerian army base in the state of Zamfara caused the deaths of 12 military personnel over the weekend. By the end of July, an army plane had already been shot down on the border between the states of Zamfara and Katsina – which testifies to the firepower of the armed groups operating in northwestern Nigeria.