- Amnesty International has alleged that armed bandits have taken over villages in Zamfara state
- It also claimed that conflict in the state has taken the lives of at least 371 Nigerians
- Villagers are said to be living in constant fears of attack
Thousands of Nigerians living in Zamfara state are allegedly living in fears as a daily killings and kidnappings by armed bandits.
According to Amnesty International, the conflict between between farmers and herders have displaced thousands of people since it began in 2012.
In a statement exclusively sent to Legit.ng, failures of Nigerian authority has left villagers at the mercy of armed bandits. AI also claimed that the repeated claims by the Nigerian authorities that the situation is been tackled is erroneous.
“This is Nigeria’s forgotten conflict. The authorities’ failure to act has left villagers in Zamfara at the mercy of armed bandits, who have killed hundreds of people over the course of two bloody years,” said Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“When we visited the region, villagers told us that they had pleaded with the government to help them after receiving warning letters from the bandits ahead of attacks but had received no protection. The Nigerian authorities have repeatedly claimed to be tackling the situation, but the mounting death toll tells a different story.”
"On Friday 27 July, 18 villages in the Mashema, Kwashabawa and Birane districts of Zurmi local government area of Zamfara state were attacked, leaving at least 42 people dead. At least 18,000 residents of the affected villages who were displaced over the weekend are now taking refuge at various locations in the local government headquarters. The following day a further 15 people were kidnapped in Maradun local government area.
"On Saturday 28 July, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the deployment of 1,000 troops to Zamfara. This is the third time since November 2017 that the authorities have deployed the military in response to attacks, but villagers told Amnesty International that this has not translated into protection for remote, vulnerable communities.
“Previous military interventions have failed to end the killings, especially in rural areas of Zamfara. At least 371 people have been killed in Zamfara in 2018 alone, and at least 238 of these killings took place after the deployment of the Nigerian air force. The government is still neglecting the most vulnerable communities in this region,” Osai Ojigho said.
Going further, Amnesty International said it visited communities in five local government areas of Zamfara state – Zurmi, Maradun, Maru, Anka and Tsafe between July 7 and 12.
"Although security forces were present in the state capital Gusau, researchers saw soldiers and air force personnel in only two of the villages they visited, Birane and Bagega."
AI reported that a villager from Gidan Goga disclosed the patter in which the bandits terrorise the people
“Before Ramadan, the bandits called with the same number they called me with two weeks ago and said if we didn’t pay them N500,000, they would come and kidnap me or the village head. Right now, we are living in fear.”
NAIJ.om had reported that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on Monday, July 30 launched operation “Diran Mikiya” to flush out armed bandits terrorising Zamfara state residents.
NAN reports that AVM Samson Akpasa, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Special Operations Command (SOC), made the disclosure to newsmen on Tuesday, July 31, in Katsina.
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