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Over 1,000 Killed, Kidnapped In 3 Weeks As Insecurity Lingers In Nigeria

There have been several public demonstrations against the spate of attacks in the country this month as Nigerians grow increasingly uneasy.

Up to 1,012 people were either killed or kidnapped owing to insecurity across Nigeria in the first three weeks of June, analysis of data from the Nigeria Security Tracker has shown.

Almost all the states of the country as well as the Federal Capital, Abuja, recorded a series of fatal attacks between June 1 and 18. The violent incidents led to the death of at least 769 people and the kidnapping of 243 others.

The hardest-hit state was Zamfara, where 238 people were killed, followed by Kebbi (132), Niger (68), Borno (66), Benue (59), and Oyo (37).

Out of the total figure of fatalities, 527 were civilians and 36 were security personnel.

Between June 10 and 11, 93 persons were reportedly killed and many others injured in Kadawa, a village in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria, during a terrorist attack. After the incident, Bello Matawalle, the governor of the state, asked civilians to defend themselves.

“My government has approved that whenever the bandits attack you, do not wait for the security personnel to come to your rescue. You should rise up and protect yourselves,” Matawalle said.

In another series of brutal attacks that took place on June 4, terrorists, known locally as bandits, killed 88 vigilantes in eight villages in Kebbi’s Danko-Wasagu Local Government Area.

The following day, 41 farmers were killed in Tofa and Samawa, both villages in Zamfara. “They came suddenly and began to shoot at the farmers, killing many of them. Their mission was only to kill those who went to their farms,” one witness, Malam Balarabe, told Punch Newspaper.

Abductions were almost as rampant in Nigeria during the three-week period as well, with Kebbi recording the highest number of victims (102). This was followed by Kaduna (71), Imo (19), Enugu (14), and Niger (13).

There have been several public demonstrations against the spate of attacks in the country this month.

On June 12, a day set aside as the National Democracy Day, protests were held in different parts of the country, including Abuja and Lagos, against worsening insecurity and unending kidnappings. 

Many of the protesters were teargassed and arrested by police officers. Demonstrations related to the security situation were held again in Kaduna and the FCT on Sunday and Tuesday respectively.

On Monday, June 21, a coalition of 238 women rights’ groups tasked the government to end the bloodshed. It also urged members of the public to participate in a #SecureOurLives campaign to pressure the authorities and honour the memory of the dead.

“Nigeria’s security forces are stretched, dogged with allegations of corruption and abuse, and the country is awash with small arms and light weapons in the middle of an economic recession, high unemployment and food insecurity. The increasing crime rate and violence are alarming and of great concern to everyone,” the coalition observed.

“Few can sleep soundly for fear, and the uncertainty is unbearable. Nigeria is inflicted with a thousand cuts and haemorrhaging, and we need to stop the bleeding and needless deaths. The insecurity endangers the continued existence of the country, and every citizen is at risk.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledged that the country faced “security problems” in his Democracy Day speech, saying he has provided security agencies with all they need — but “relative to available resources”.

“Let me assure my fellow citizens that every incident, however minor, gives me great worry and concern and I immediately order security agencies to swiftly but safely rescue victims and bring perpetrators to justice,” he assured.

But many Nigerians expect a more effective response from the Buhari-led administration, which was first elected into office in 2015 with the expectation that it would tackle the tough security problems head-on.

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'Kunle Adebajo

Head of Investigations at HumAngle. ‘Kunle 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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