21 persons, including police officers and members of local vigilante groups, were reportedly killed by bandits in Katsina and Zamfara, Thursday, in what is suspected to be a reprisal attack on residents of Dandume and Maradun local government areas of Katsina and Zamfara respectively.
The increasing cases of banditry across the country are becoming more alarming by the day. Unfortunately, the Northwest seems to be the hardest hit by the activities of bandits.
Since 2018, Northwestern Nigeria has reportedly been grappling with devastating attacks from armed bandits, particularly in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, and Sokoto. Some of the factors believed to be responsible for the attacks include cattle rustling, youth unemployment, poverty, illicit artisanal mining, and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
According to a report by the West Africa Network of Peacebuilding (WANEP); “from January to December 2019, armed bandits were responsible for more than 1,000 civilian deaths in the Northwest.” The Nigeria Security Tracker also states that “this is greater than civilians killed by Boko Haram over the same period (though not greater than all those killed, which includes soldiers and Boko Haram members).”
In January alone, at least 29 people were reportedly killed in Babban Rafi village, Gummi Local Government Area of Zamfara. While in Katsina, no fewer than 47 people were reportedly killed in September, by armed bandits who had attacked several villages in the state.
The heightened level of insecurity in the north from the activities of armed bandits is worrisome. From all indications, the situation calls for urgent attention from relevant authorities who must put effective measures in place to secure the lives of the citizens.