Armed ViolenceNews

Residents Protest Against Persistent Violence In Northwest Nigeria

Angry residents of communities ravaged by violence blocked the Zamfara-Sokoto highway, to protest against persistent attacks.

Residents displaced from several communities in Zamfara State, Northwestern Nigeria, blocked a major interstate highway in protest against deteriorating insecurity in the state. 

Zamfara, the epicentre of the protracted conflict ravaging the region and parts of the North-central, has witnessed attacks from terror gangs moving on motorcycles and targeting vulnerable communities and travellers.

Security forces responded to the protest on Thursday, July 1, which involved protesters blocking a location known as Tashar Abu along the Zamfara-Sokoto highway located about 30 kilometres from the state capital, Gusau.

The protest was a reaction to days-long attacks on eleven (11) communities in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara.

HumAngle learnt that the  protesters included residents from Juyi, Doruwa, Lagaje, Madanga, Kekun waje, Yar Tsamiya, Galmar Hannu, Landai, Lamba, Bindin and Gidan Malan Mamman. 

It was reported that tear gas was fired during the tense situation that had angry locals throwing stones.

The blockade brought the movement of vehicles and trucks to a standstill and forced some drivers to turn back.

A similar blockade was organised by the same group last week but authorities did not address their concerns.

HumAngle understands that security forces subsequently facilitated movement through provision of protection to commuters through the road.

The spike in insecurity and lawlessness plaguing the Northwest and North-central has  resulted in widespread displacement across the regions.

“Violence is rooted in competition over resources between predominantly Fulani herders and mostly Hausa farmers. It has escalated amid a boom in organised crime, including cattle rustling, kidnapping for ransom and village raids. Jihadist groups are now stepping in to take advantage of the security crisis” says a study by the International Crisis Group.

According to a report from international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) the violence has caused a humanitarian crisis.

In Feb. 2021 there were more than 124,000 displaced people living in Zamfara state, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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