thirty-four people, including two soldiers, killed by armed men

Kaduna State is located north of the federal capital Abuja.

At least 34 people, including two soldiers, were killed on Sunday (March 20th) by armed men during several attacks in Nigeria, local authorities said on Tuesday.

“Two soldiers are among the thirty-four people killed” in attacks by “unidentified assailants” in four villages in the Kaura area, Kaduna State Homeland Security Commissioner Samuel Aruwan said.

Read also In northwestern Nigeria, the army struggles to counter the “bandits”

One person is missing and seven others were injured in these attacks in the localities of Tsonje, Agban, Katanga and Kadargo, said Mr. Aruwan on Facebook. More than 200 homes and around 30 businesses were set on fire during the violence, according to authorities.

“The government is working tirelessly with the security forces to restore order in the region”, assured Mr. Aruwan. Kaduna State Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, quoted by Mr. Aruwan, called on citizens to “cooperate with security agencies”in particular respecting the curfew established in the area.

Generalized insecurity

This violence is the latest attributed to heavily armed gangs, locally called “bandits”, which plague the northwest and center of Africa’s most populous country, where they loot, kidnap and kill residents. On Sunday the same day, sixteen villagers were also killed in an attack in neighboring Zamfara state.

Two weeks earlier, fifty-seven members of a self-defense militia were killed in clashes with a criminal group in the state of Kebbi, in the northwest of the country. In the aftermath, President Muhammadu Buhari said to himself “shocked by this extreme level of crime”.

Read also Nigeria: at least 57 self-defense militia fighters killed in the northwest of the country

In early January, more than 200 people lost their lives in attacks in Zamfara State. The president had already then called for a harsher crackdown by the army against the gangs, recently designated as “terrorists” by the government. The 79-year-old former army general is widely criticized for his failure to tackle widespread insecurity in the country.

In addition to the fight against banditry, the Nigerian army is deployed on multiple fronts, notably in the northeast, which has been plagued by a jihadist insurgency for more than ten years, and in the southeast, which has been agitated by separatist movements. Analysts say possible alliances between bandits and jihadists in the northeast are a growing source of concern.

These bandits operate from hidden camps in a vast forest straddling the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger. To protect themselves, many villages have formed self-defense groups, supported by the government. But some have been banned from several states after accusations of abuse and extrajudicial executions.

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The World with AFP

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