Nearly 5,000 people have been killed so far by bandits on rampage in Nigeria’s north west states of Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger and Kebbi.
The highest fatalities occurred last year, when over 2,200 people were killed, according to a report published by ACAPS, the not-for-profit project of Norwegian Refugee Council, Mercy Corps and Save The Children.
In 2018, 1,100 people died, while in the first half of this year, 1,600 people have been killed by the well-armed bandits.
“Attacks have included shooting and killing, cattle rustling, kidnapping, rape, torching of entire villages, and looting of valuables, and the numbers of fatalities and displaced people have continued to rise”, said the report.
” By September 2019, such attacks had internally displaced over 160,000 people and produced more than 41,000 refugees. Displacement numbers now stand at over 247,000 IDPs and some 60,000 refugees”, it said.
More than 309,000 people have been displaced by the northwest banditry crisis as of 30
Zamfara state accommodates about 69,000 IDPs, Kaduna 71,000, Katsina 61,000,
Sokoto 45,000, and Niger 3,000.
About 60,000 people displaced from Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara have crossed the border to Maradi, in the Republic of Niger.
More than 30,000 of the refugees arrived in Niger between May and June 2020 alone.
The report traces the crisis to 2011, developing over crisis over land between Fulani herdsmen and Hausa farmers.
It highlights various efforts by the Federal and concerned states to end the banditry, but it continues to escalate.
It snowballed into full-fledged armed war, with suspected connection with the terrorists operating in the North East.
There are now two most powerful banditry groups in the area, the Buharin Daji
and Dogo Gyedi, the report noted.
“The killing of 23 soldiers by bandits in Shimfida area of Jibia in Katsina state, and the
death of five children from a bomb in Yammama village in the same state on 18 July
seemingly lends credence to assertions that certain elements of the bandits are either
linking up with other NSAGs in the northeast, or these NSAGs in the northeast are
operating independently in the northwest”, the report said.