Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Nigerian Troops Rescue 16 Abductees in Kaduna

Nigeria’s military on Tuesday said troops have rescued 16 abductees in northwest Kaduna state after exchanging fire with insurgents who attacked a local community on Sunday night — one of two kidnap attacks in the area over the weekend.

According to a military statement posted on X, troops responded to a tip about the operation Sunday night of nonstate armed groups in the Tantatu community in Kajuru district.

The military said the attackers had taken several hostages before they arrived, exchanged fire with them and saved 16 of the abductees.

According to local media reports, 87 people, including women and children, went missing from the Sunday attack — barely 24 hours after gunmen captured 16 people from their homes in Dogon Noma, another community in Kajuru.

The army said troops are still searching the forests for missing people. The latest string of kidnappings in Nigeria in recent weeks is stoking fears of rising insecurity.

Security analyst Chidi Omeje says worsening economic problems and lack of governance in remote areas are to blame.

"These guys are becoming more audacious because they see the window of opportunity, and they're just exploiting it,” Omeje said. “It's very obvious that the response of the security government and security agencies are not effective enough to contain these infractions. But these are just the symptoms. The real issue here is the growing poverty and despondency in the people."

The deterioration of security in Africa's largest country comes amid a worsening economic crisis.

Kaduna state has been a hot spot of recent incidents. Just over a week ago, 287 school students were abducted in the state, and days later, another 61 residents were also kidnapped.

The latest incidents prompted authorities last week to order the establishment of a mobile police force base in the state.

But security analyst Kabir Adamu said what is needed the most is a change of strategy.

"There are gaps within the security architecture,” Adamu said. “The farther away you go from the city center, the bigger the gaps. It shows clearly that protection, especially in the rural areas, is almost nonexistent for the dwellers."

Kaduna is home to many military training institutions and installations.

Omeje said authorities need to revise the deployment of police officers to where they're needed the most. He said that there are many ungoverned areas while 60% of the nation’s police are devoted to VIP protection.

“Ten percent or so are in administration in the offices, then you're left with about 30% doing the real policing work,” Omeje said. “We have to be intentional about going back to the normal internal security structure."

President Bola Tinubu, who is implementing bold economic reforms, vowed last year to address insecurity if he was elected president.

On March 14, 16 soldiers, including high ranking officers, were killed and decapitated in southern Delta state. They were on a mission to quell conflict between two communities in the Bomadi region.

The Nigerian military has launched an investigation.

By Timothy Obiezu, VOA

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