Armed ViolenceNews

Nigerian Security Forces Record Heavy Toll As 722 Are Killed In September

Nearly a fifth of the fatalities from the previous month involved security personnel, according to data from the Council on Foreign Relations.

Nigeria’s security agencies recorded an especially high number of casualties due to armed violence in Sept. 2021, analysis of data collected by the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) has shown.

Out of the total number of fatalities in the period (722), at least 16.2 per cent (117) were security personnel, according to local press reports. These included mostly soldiers and police officers.

Most of the deceased lost their lives during counterinsurgency operations in the Northeast, Northwest, and  Southeast.

The states with the most devastating numbers of personnel lost were Borno, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Anambra.

Ambushes against Nigeria’s armed and paramilitary forces have recently been intensified by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the Northeast.

On Thursday, Sept. 16, 25 soldiers were reported to have been killed by ISWAP insurgents in the Monguno area of Borno State. About a week later on Sept. 24, 30 soldiers were again killed, according to reports, along the Marte-Dikwa Road in the same state.

Security personnel are not safe in the Northwest either.

On Sept. 11, terrorists, known locally as ‚Äėbandits‚Äô, attacked a military base in Dansadau, Zamfara State, killing 10 soldiers and two police officers. On Sept. 24, a total of 17 security agents were killed in a similar attack on a joint military base in the Sabon Birni Local Government Area (LGA) of Sokoto State.

In many of these incidents, firearms and other weapons were seized by the criminal groups.

Reacting to the attacks, Alameen Yaqub, a security analyst, told HumAngle that the army ‚Äúneeds to vastly improve its counter-ambush tactics for its frontline troops,‚ÄĚ adding that one way to do that is through ‚Äúgood concealment from enemy fire.‚ÄĚ

The death toll recorded by the security forces, if calculated as a percentage of the total monthly death toll (16.2 per cent), is the highest Nigeria has seen since the year started.

It was 7.9 per cent in January, 5.7 per cent in February, 11.5 per cent in March, 14.1 per cent in April, 7.8 per cent in May, 4.2 per cent in June, 8.8 per cent in July, and finally 7.2 per cent in August.

Meanwhile, killings and abductions have continued across the country.

Niger State recorded the highest death toll in September with 205 victims, followed by Borno (137), Kaduna (77), Sokoto (69), and Zamfara (48).

The state with the most kidnap victims was Zamfara (82), then Kaduna (69), Sokoto (61), and Ondo (18).

Killed Kidnapped
Abia 1 5
Adamawa 7
Akwa Ibom 6
Anambra 26 1
Bauchi  2 3
Bayelsa  5 1
Benue 16 2
Borno  137 2
Delta 20
Ebonyi 5
Edo 3 7
Ekiti 6
Enugu 2
FCT  10 5
Imo 13 1
Kaduna 77 69
Kano 1
Katsina 1 14
Kebbi  5
Kogi  29 7
Kwara  2 8
Lagos  5 3
Niger 205 1
Ogun 3 7
Ondo 18
Osun 3
Oyo 1
Plateau  11 1
Rivers  3 5
Sokoto 69 61
Taraba  1 10
Yobe  11
Zamfara 48 82
TOTAL 722 325


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'Kunle Adebajo

Head of Investigations at HumAngle. ‚ÄėKunle covers conflict alongside its many intricacies and fallouts. He also writes about disinformation, the environment, and human rights. He's won a couple of journalism awards, including the 2021 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism, the 2022 African Fact-checking Award, and the 2023 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling.

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