Nigeria – In Nigeria, criminal bandit gangs were blamed for mass kidnappings. The government on Wednesday categorised them as terrorist groups in an attempt to deter violence in the northwest part of the country.
The bandit gangs looted people and started violence in villages across the country. President Muhammadu Buhari’s government had been under pressure to do more to halt attacks from the criminal gangs.
Bandit gang in the North West region of Nigeria
The gangs of criminals have been increasingly menacing the North West region of Nigeria. These gangs use violence and murder to threaten villagers into submission. Nigeria is already battling a more than decade-long jihadist conflict in the northeast.
A gang of bandits operating in North West Kaduna state on Tuesday killed nine persons and injured scores in attacks on two villages. President Muhammadu Buhari said, “We labelled them terrorists… we are going to deal with them as such.” Security forces also announced a crackdown to track those gangs.
The bandit groups carry out a mass kidnapping of school children, abduction for ransom, cattle rustling and destruction of property among other crimes. Nigerian local newspapers often carry stories about bandit raids on villages and communities. They steal cattle, kidnap families and terrorize residents. The country’s northwest and north-central states suffer more because of these groups. However, violence increased more in recent times.
Attacks on schools and colleges
On Tuesday, the Nigerian police announced they had rescued nearly 100 kidnap victims in two raids on bandit camps in the northwestern Zamfara state of Nigeria. Last year, bandit gangs attacked students of schools and colleges. In 2021, they also killed more than 250 members of Ansaru in the Birnin Gwari area.
Nigeria earlier launched military campaigns against bandits in the northwest region. However, most of those operations and peace deals have failed.