Two mass shootings in different parts of Nigeria have brought people together in shock and revulsion - and have highlighted a country-wide security crisis. In one attack that horrified people across the country, gunmen killed dozens of congregants at a church in Owo, a town in Ondo state, on June 5.
No group has claimed responsibility for the assault, but the National Security Council says Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) masterminded it. Reports later emerged that on the same day as the church massacre, gunmen killed at least 32 people in the Kajuru region of the northwestern state of Kaduna, about 350 miles from Owo. President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned "the heinous killing of worshippers" in Owo, while pledging that the government will win its fight against armed groups. But the attacks are just the latest in a series of assaults against communities across Nigeria - north, south, east and west. Murder, kidnapping, and violent robberies have mounted in recent months, including in parts of the country that were once relatively peaceful.
The federal government and security forces are struggling to tackle a series of overlapping security challenges, including threats from Boko Haram and ISWAP, banditry, separatist groups, and violent conflict between herders and farmers over scarce land and resources. With police forces underfunded and understaffed, some leaders are now asking vigilante groups to guarantee communities’ safety – a development some analysts fear could spur further violence. In this episode of The Stream we'll look at the various security crises that Nigeria is facing, and ask what can be done to improve safety for communities enduring the daily threat of attack.
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