AnalysisArmed ViolenceElection SecurityNews

Over 820 Killed, Kidnapped In Nigeria In May, Electoral Violence On The Rise

Statistics show that the country has heightened political tension and conflict due to activities leading up to the general elections next year.

Analysis of data collected by the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) for May 2022 shows that at least 594 people were killed while 227 were kidnapped over one month.

The data is an improvement on the security situation in the previous month when 917 persons were killed and 343 others abducted.

In May, 321 of the people killed were civilians, and 25 were security agents, especially soldiers and police officers. Other people who died were 106 Boko Haram terrorists, 14 kidnappers, two robbers, and 115 other armed persons.

As Nigeria’s 2023 general elections approach, there has been heightened political tension and conflict. 

Four of the killings recorded in May were due to election-related violence at political party primaries held in Bayelsa, South-south Nigeria and Lagos, Southwest. At least five other political actors were killed, including three delegates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Niger State, North-central Nigeria, one lawmaker in Anambra, and another PDP chieftain in Akwa Ibom.

Borno State, at the centre of the Boko Haram insurgency, had the highest casualties, with a death toll of 176. However, only 39 per cent of those who died were civilians. The remaining, except two police officers killed in an ambush, were suspected terrorists.

Other states with high fatalities were Zamfara (118), Taraba (40), Anambra (25), Cross River (23), Katsina (21), and Niger (18).

The violent incidents in Zamfara that were covered by local press reports were entirely due to the activities of terrorists who attacked communities in the state’s Bakura, Gusau, Mafara, and Maradun areas. Clashes between rival terror groups in Shinkafi also led to the killing of 44 armed persons.

The fatalities in Taraba were only from one incident during which terrorists invaded the Tati community, killing 40 residents and six soldiers.

In Anambra, the bulk of the violent incidents could be traced to shooters and members of armed separatist militias. The conflict in the state led to the killing of 18 civilians, five security personnel and the kidnapping of two politicians.

Much of the violence in Cross River was due to militant and election-related activities. Cameroon separatist fighters allegedly killed 20 people in one incident n the state, but the police command debunked the report. The crisis in the neighbouring country has, however, long spilt into Nigeria.

Terror attacks by ethnic militias largely fueled insecurity in Katsina and Niger. But in the latter state, there is also a component of the violence led by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

Meanwhile, the highest number of kidnap victims was recorded in Kaduna, where Non-State Armed Groups abducted at least 95 people. This was followed by Rivers (42), Niger (30), Abia (13), Sokoto (10), and FCT-Abuja (8).

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No kidnapping or insecurity-related deaths were recorded in five states, including Ekiti, Kebbi, Osun, Jigawa, and Yobe.

As the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) marked its 58th anniversary on Monday, May 23, President Muhammadu Buhari promised that his administration “would not rest until peace and security are fully restored” to the country.

“Rest assured that in our government, we are willing to do even more to ensure the provision of the requisite support and the encouragement to overcome various security challenges,” he said.


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Kunle Adebajo

'Kunle is Investigations Editor at HumAngle. You can catch him on Twitter @KunleAdebajo.

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