Showing posts with label Violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Violence. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Terrorists kill traditional ruler, five residents, burn down vehicles in Katsina, Nigeria

Six residents, including the ward head, Haruna Wakili, were killed when terrorists attacked Yar Nasarawa, a community in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State on Monday.

Residents said the terrorists abducted about 38 residents, including women and children and left 10 residents with gunshot injuries. They also burnt down six houses, eight commercial vehicles and shops in the community.

Yar Nasarawa is less than five kilometres away from the Army Super Camp situated in Faskari. The camp was established by the former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, in 2018.

“The attackers came prepared. I have never seen them in such number,” a resident, Auwal Liman, who said he ran into the bush during the attack, said. “While some of them were shooting indiscriminately, others were putting vehicles and shops on fire.”

The terrorists stormed the community around 11 p.m. and blocked all entries and exits to ward off support from the military and members of the Community Watch Corps in the area.

The six dead residents were buried Tuesday morning in the community, according to Mr Liman.

“We are in a sorry situation. We can’t go to the farm. When we stay away from our farms and local markets, the terrorists follow us into our communities and kill us. Our lives hardly matter,” Mr Liman lamented.

Motorcycle-riding terrorists have been unleashing mayhem on residents in the north-west for over a decade. leading to layers of humanitarian crises in the sub-region.

“The terrorists were merciless in yesterday’s attack,” a resident, Abdullahi Adamu, said. “They burnt down a child. They took him inside his mother’s room set the room ablaze and slaughtered another old man in the same house. It was barbaric.”

Mr Adamu, who said he climbed a rock outside the community and waited till early morning, said he has lost hope in the government and security agencies.

The police spokesperson in the state, Abubakar-Sadik Aliyu, confirmed the attack to journalists in Katsina but did not provide the details.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Aliyu Musa, had since deployed the command’s tactical, operational and intelligence to the scene, and currently combing the surrounding bushes for the possible arrest of the perpetrators for diligent prosecution,” Mr Aliyu said.

By Mohammed Babangida, Premium Times

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Nigeria police repel attack by gunmen, one officer dies

A group of armed men attacked a police division in Zurmi town, in Nigeria's northwest Zamfara state, but were repelled by officers with casualties recorded on both sides, the police said on Monday.

Gangs of heavily armed men referred to as bandits by locals have wreaked havoc across Nigeria's northwest in the past three years, kidnapping thousands, killings hundreds, and making it unsafe to travel by road or to farm in some areas.

Zamfara police spokesperson Yazid Abubakar said suspected bandits wielding sophisticated weapons attacked the division late on Sunday, killing a senior officer and wounding two others.

"The policemen on duty retaliated and repelled the attack after a serious gun duel in which many of the bandits were killed and some took to their heels with possible gunshot wounds," Abubakar said in a statement.

Abubakar said the police have begun an investigation and have deployed more men to fortify the town and arrest fleeing culprits.

Residents said at least seven people were killed during the shootout, including the divisional crime officer.
Ibrahim Mohammed, a resident of Zurmi who witnessed the attack, told Reuters by phone that an unspecified number of people were kidnapped and the police division was set ablaze.

"They ransacked the place and set ablaze some shops and cars near the police station," Mohammed said.
Another resident Usman Abubakar said, "as I speak with you, they also abducted some people whose numbers cannot be immediately ascertained."

Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, is grappling with a multifaceted security crisis, including kidnappings for ransom, which has reached alarming proportions.

The widespread insecurity is exacerbating a cost-of-living crisis caused in part by the reforms of President Bola Tinubu who has yet to detail how he plans to the tackle the situation. 

By Ahmed Kingimi, Reuters

Related story: 8 police officers killed by suspected rebels in Nigeria


School in Nigeria helps girls to heal after Boko Haram

What 19-year-old Binta Usman remembers most vividly about her early days at the Lafiya Sarari girls’ school in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno state, are the frequent tears that made it hard for her to concentrate in class.

“We’d all be sitting in class and all of us would just be crying,” she says.

Like Usman, whose father was killed and family held captive by the militant jihadist group Boko Haram, all 100 women and girls at the school have either witnessed a parent’s murder or been kidnapped themselves.

Another pupil, 17-year-old Hassana, recalls being forced to join the militants, handling weapons and carry out acts of violence. “We drank blood,” she says.

Boko Haram has targeted schools as part of its campaign of atrocities in north-eastern Nigeria since 2010. It has carried out massacres and multiple abductions, including 2014’s killing of 59 schoolboys, the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014 and 101 girls in Dapchi in 2018.

Between 2013 and 2018, according to the UN, Boko Haram abducted more than 1,000 children, using them as soldiers and domestic or sex slaves. Amnesty International has estimated that 1,436 schoolchildren and 17 teachers were abducted between December 2020 and October 2021.

The Lafiya Sarari school was set up in response to the terror Boko Haram has inflicted. Established in 2017 by the Neem Foundation, a Nigerian charity set up to help communities affected by violence, the school is designed to provide support and education to those who have suffered trauma.

“What we do is a trauma-informed learning approach,” says Dr Fatima Akilu, a psychologist who helped set up the foundation. “It’s not a set programme.”

She says: “Some people have post-traumatic stress disorder, some come in with depression, some come with anxiety – it changes.

“We used to have a psychologist in the early days when we first started, but now all we have is a full-time counsellor who knows the girls, who has been with them throughout.”

Akilu initially envisioned Lafiya Sarari as a model of reconciliation, where children of victims, perpetrators and the security forces could receive education together.

But the conflict disrupted education, leaving gaps in learning for children too old for traditional primary school classes. “I didn’t even know ‘ABC’ when I came here,” says Usman, who enrolled aged 12.

The selection process involved interviewing girls aged between 11 and 14 from displaced communities and in refugee camps. “We selected girls who were tenacious and could become something because this was going to be quite a long project.

“Quite a few of the girls had come out of captivity at the time, so some of them were really in a bad state [and] needed trauma support. That was also one of the criteria because we could give them long-term treatment,” says Akilu.

Funding for the ongoing pilot programme for 100 girls came from a grant by the US Catena Foundation. Initially, the students learned together, but as they progressed they were streamed by academic achievement. Thirty pupils have successfully passed national exams and are preparing for university this year.

It is a far cry from how they arrived, fearful and distrustful. They struggled to interact or form friendships with other children and often resorted to violence at the slightest provocation. “They only knew how to fight,” says Yakubu Gwadeda, the deputy headteacher.

“They didn’t know how to interact with each other peacefully, how to queue,” he says.

Those who had been involved with Boko Haram, like Hassana, used to try to intimidate their peers with the threat of violence.

“They went through intervention sessions, coping, resilience, expressive therapy,” says the school counsellor, Hauwa Abdullahi Zaifada. “Some could not talk about their experience but we got to hear their stories through drawings and music.

“Sometimes,” she adds, “they would come to the sessions and not say a word, and we would have to reschedule.”

One of Zaifada’s primary goals was to overcome Boko Haram’s indoctrination against education. She found an opportunity when several girls spoke of their desire for revenge against those who had killed their parents or exploited them.

“I told them that you don’t have to be a soldier or hold a gun for revenge,” Zaifada says. “Education can be their revenge.

“They realised that education is valuable and can help them. That’s how they started picking up in school and doing well.”

Falmata Mohammed Talba, 20, found the daily therapy at school so beneficial that she began replicating the sessions with her two brothers, who attend a government-run school.

She helped them cope with the trauma they collectively experienced after witnessing their father’s murder by Boko Haram and then being held captive with their mother.

“When I first started, I used to see her one-on-one almost every day for about six months. Sometimes, I would even run out of the class. Talking to the psychologist helped me a lot,” Talba says.

“I helped my brothers the way Lafiya Sarari helped me. I tell my brothers, ‘This is what they told me. Why don’t you too start practising it?’ That’s how they changed.”

Talba says she and her brothers can now openly discuss their father without succumbing to tears or anger. “We now say, ‘Remember this when we were with Dad’, and we can laugh,” she says.

Hassana’s psychological progress has been notable, even though her academic advancement has been slower than that of some of her peers. She still relies on an interpreter to express herself in English.

“My relatives were so worried about my behaviour that whenever I started acting out, they would start shouting out passages of the Qur’an to calm me down,” she says. “But all that has stopped. The nightmares have also stopped.”

Seven years after the launch of Lafiya Sarari, Zaifada still has daily sessions with her students.

“Now I don’t have to look for them. They come to me if they have any issues,” she says. “Most of the issues now are environmental – peer-group influences, family issues.”

As for Usman, the crying has stopped. She smiles broadly as she shares her aspirations of winning a scholarship to study law at Cambridge University.

“I hear it is a good school,” she says.

By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, The Guardian 

Related story: Nigeria set to recover £6.9m looted during Boko Haram incursions

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Video - Nigerian police arrest hundreds in kidnapping crackdown

The police chief in the Federal Capital Territory said officers conducted their latest raid in Gidan Dambe. More than 300 people were arrested.


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Gunmen kill four, abduct at least 40 in northwest Nigeria

Armed men killed four people, including two policemen, and kidnapped at least 40 others in an attack on Kaura Namoda, in Nigeria's northwest Zamfara state, police and residents said on Tuesday.

Africa's largest economy is grappling with a multifaceted security crisis, including kidnappings for ransom in the northwest, which has reached alarming proportions.

Zamfara police spokesperson Yazid Abubakar confirmed the attack and said reinforcements have been deployed to the Kasuwar Daji district of the town where the incident took place.

Residents, including some of the victims, told Reuters by phone about their ordeal which began with an attack on the local police station.

"Sporadic gunshots woke me up around 0100 GMT. They started with the uniformed men before they moved into our houses," Hussaini Mohammed said.

"They took more than 40 women and children, including some elderly men," added Mohammed, who managed to escape.

Hamisu Kasuwa Daji, who heads the town's transport union, told Reuters his son and two grandchildren were taken by the attackers.

"My house is adjacent to the police station. The bandits started attacking the police station, which they engaged for several minutes until they killed two policemen and two other civilians.

"Then they proceeded to my house, by which time I had already fled. After I returned home later, I realised they had taken my son and two grandsons," he said.

Gangs of heavily armed men referred to as bandits by locals have wreaked havoc across Nigeria's northwest in the past three years, kidnapping thousands of people, killing hundreds and making it unsafe to travel by road or to farm in some areas.

Widespread insecurity is exacerbating a cost-of-living crisis caused by the reforms of President Bola Tinubu who has not yet said how he plans to tackle the mounting problems.

By Ahmed Kingimi, Reuters

Related stories: Two missionary priests who were kidnapped in Nigeria released

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Monday, February 5, 2024

Video - Gunmen kill four officers in Borno state

The Borno state police commissioner said the officers were on duty and attacked while defending the police quarters in Gajiram Town.


Related story: Traditional monarch shot dead and wife kidnapped from palace in Nigeria


Friday, February 2, 2024

Explosions rock Kano, Nigeria, at least six killed

At least six people were killed in a string of bomb blasts on Friday in Nigeria's second city Kano and the authorities imposed a curfew across the city, which has been plagued by an insurgency led by the Islamist sect Boko Haram.

Smoke billowed from the police headquarters for the north in Kano after one blast blew out its windows, collapsed its roof and triggered a blaze that firefighters struggled to control.

A Reuters reporter counted three bodies at the scene and three more at the local passport office, which was surrounded by flaming debris.

Some residents ran around shouting and screaming following the attacks. There were at least four other explosions across the city in quick succession.

"I was on the roadside and I just heard a 'Boom!'. As I came back, I saw the building of the police zonal headquarters crashing down and I ran for my life," said local man Andrew Samuel.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the apparently coordinated attacks, which prompted the government to announce a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Kano, like other northern cities in Nigeria, has been plagued by an insurgency led by Islamist sect Boko Haram, blamed for scores of bombings and shootings against mostly government targets that are growing in scale and sophistication.

Boko Haram became active around 2003 and is concentrated in the northern states of Yobe, Kano, Bauchi, Borno and Kaduna.

Boko Haram, which in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria means "Western education is sinful", is loosely modelled on the Taliban movement in Afghanistan.

The group considers all who do not follow its strict ideology as infidels, whether they be Christian or Muslim. It demands the adoption of sharia, Islamic law, in all of Nigeria.


Witnesses said the bomber of the police headquarters, which covers most of northern Nigeria, pulled up at the building on a motorbike then got off and ran at it holding a bag.

"We tried to stop him but he ran in forcefully with his bag. All of a sudden there was a blast. You can see for yourself the building is damaged," said a policeman at the scene.

Police said a second blast had hit Kano's passport office and another hit Zaria Road police station in the city.

"The ground was shaking with the explosion. We saw flames and smoke at the police station," said witness Umaru Ibrahim.

A source at the State Security Service said another bomber had tried to attack there but was gunned down before he could detonate his bomb.

Police and military roadblocks were erected in the city within minutes.

"We are trying to reach the scenes of these heavy blasts. Many of the roads are blocked now by security agents," said Abubaker Jibril, head of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for Kano, told Reuters.

A bomb attack on a Catholic church just outside the capital Abuja on Christmas Day, claimed by Boko Haram, killed 37 people and wounded 57.

The main suspect in that attack escaped from police custody within 24 hours of his arrest, and police have offered a 50 million naira reward for information leading to his recapture.

Police arrested Kabiru Sokoto on Tuesday and while they were taking him from police headquarters to his house in Abaji, just outside Abuja, to conduct a search there, their vehicle came under fire.

Last August a suicide bomber blew up the U.N. Nigeria headquarters in Abuja, killing at least 24 people. 

By Mike Oboh, Reuters 

Related story: Deadly blast in Nigeria affects several suburbs

Friday, January 5, 2024

Video - More security personnel deployed to Plateau state in Nigeria after December attacks

The additional deployment follows attacks by gunmen who invaded communities in Plateau state on Christmas Eve, killing over 150 people. Analysts believe the government needs to employ more than just a heavy hand to bring peace to the area.


Related stories: Video - President of Nigeria says Plateau state attack planners will be apprehended

Villagers missing in Nigeria two days after suspected nomadic herders kill 140



Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Video - 12 killed in Nigeria by suspected Boko Haram militants

Heavily armed assailants suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents randomly shot at people on Monday. Authorities launched investigations into the incident two weeks after bandits killed two people. Chibok is widely known for attacks and kidnappings, most notably the 2014 abduction of 276 teenage girls at a secondary school.


Friday, December 29, 2023

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Video - Why has Nigeria failed to deal with violence in Plateau State?

The Nigerian government says at least 160 people were killed in attacks by armed groups on remote farming communities at the weekend. It's the worst violence in the central Plateau state in more than five years. No group has claimed responsibility but nomadic herders are believed to be responsible. Herders and farmers have been locked in a decades-long conflict over access to land and water. Why has the Nigerian government failed to prevent these attacks? And what does it mean for the country's wider security problem - as it faces challenges on multiple fronts?

Al Jazeera 

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Video - Nigeria mourns the brutal murders of at least 160 people

Communities in Plateau state, Nigeria are in mourning after at least 160 people were killed in a series of attacks by armed groups over the Christmas weekend. The gunmen targeted about 20 villages across the Bokkos and Barkin Ladi areas.


Related story: Villagers missing in Nigeria two days after suspected nomadic herders kill 140


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Villagers missing in Nigeria two days after suspected nomadic herders kill 140

Nigerian mother-of-three Grace Godwin was preparing food on Christmas Eve when her husband burst into the kitchen and ordered her and the children to run and take cover in the bush after gunmen were spotted in a nearby village.

Soon they heard gunfire, starting an hours-long attack by suspected nomadic herders who rampaged through 15 villages in central Plateau state on Sunday, killing at least 140 people with guns and machetes, officials, police and residents said.

It was the bloodiest violence since 2018 when more than 200 people were killed in Nigeria's central region where clashes between herders and farmers are common.

"We returned at 6 the next morning and found that houses had been burnt and people killed. There are still people missing," Godwin said by phone.

"There is no one in Mayanga (village), women and children have all fled."

It was not immediately clear what triggered Sunday's attacks but violence in the region, known as the "Middle Belt", is often characterised as ethno-religious - chiefly Muslim Fulani herdsmen clashing with mainly Christian farmers.

But experts and politicians say climate change and expanding agriculture are creating competition for land, pushing farmers and herders into conflict.

Nomadic cattle herders are from northern Nigeria, which is getting drier and becoming more prone to drought and floods. That is forcing them to trek further south, where farmers are increasing production as the population rapidly expands.

That means less land for nomads and their cattle, supporting the view among local people that the conflict is based on the availability of resources rather than ethnic or religious differences.

"These attacks have been recurring. They want to drive us out of our ancestral land but we will continue to resist these assaults," said Magit Macham, who had returned from the state capital Jos to celebrate Christmas with his family.

Macham was chatting to his brother outside his house when the sputtering sound of a petrol generator was interrupted by gunshots. His brother was hit by a bullet in the leg but Macham dragged him to into the bush where they hid for the night.

"We were taken unawares and those that could run ran into the bush. A good number of those that couldn't were caught and killed with machetes," he said.

Plateau governor called the violence "unprovoked" and police said several houses, cars and motorcycles were burnt.

President Bola Tinubu, who has yet to spell out how he intends to tackle widespread security, described the attacks as "primitive and cruel" and directed police to track down those responsible.

By Hamza Ibrahim and Camillus Eboh, Reuters

Related story: Video - Over 100 kidnapped from four villages in Nigeria

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Gunmen kill four soldiers, kidnap two South Koreans in ambush in southern Nigeria

At least four Nigerian soldiers were killed while two South Koreans were abducted during an attack by gunmen in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern Rivers state, authorities said.

The gunmen ambushed a convoy escorting the Koreans on a work trip in the Ahoada East council area, resulting in a shootout, Maj. Jonah Danjuma, an army spokesman, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Troops are currently combing the general area to fish out the perpetrators of this dastardly act. Additionally, efforts are ongoing to ensure that the unaccounted oil workers are found,” Danjuma said.

Abductions for ransom are common in parts of Nigeria, but it has been especially widespread in Rivers and other parts of the oil-rich Niger Delta region where many foreign companies in the oil and engineering sectors operate. The region also struggles with high poverty and hunger despite its natural resources.

Hostages are usually released after the payment of large ransoms, though security forces in the past have succeeded in freeing some.

Danjuma urged locals to provide any intelligence that would help in making arrests.

By Chinedu Asadu, Reuters 

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Friday, December 1, 2023

Woman jailed in Nigeria for ‘blasphemy’ for 18 months over WhatsApp message

For sharing a message among her co-workers that criticised a mob action last May, Rhoda Ya’u Jatau has spent the last year in police detention on charges of blasphemy towards Islam.

The healthcare administrator with the Warji local government in Bauchi, northeastern Nigeria was arrested a few days after forwarding the video condemning the burning to death of Deborah Yakubu, a university student in Sokoto, another state, over alleged blasphemy.

Prosecutors allege that by sharing the video, Jatau, then 45, committed multiple offences of inciting disturbance, contempt” for religious creed, and cyberstalking.

Last Monday, a Bauchi state high court rejected her “no-case submission”. Kola Alapinni, lead counsel at Abuja-based nonprofit Foundation for Religious Freedom who is familiar with the case, told Al Jazeera that the defence team is expected to make a case when the court sits again in December.

If found guilty, Jatau, a mother of five and Christian, could be sentenced to a few years in prison, he said.

The court’s decision has sparked public outrage in parts of Nigeria, a country with a history of religious extremism.

“This really shows how far extremism has permeated deeply into our institutions,” said Ndi Kato, politician and executive director of Dinidari, an advocacy group for women’s rights in the Middle Belt region, as central Nigeria is often referred to. “You will lock a person for just forwarding a message because you don’t think that it favours what you believe in? I don’t think that has any place in our society today.”

‘Highly restricted’

Half of Nigerians are Muslims and a slightly smaller proportion – 45 percent – of their compatriots are Christians but Nigeria is officially a secular country whose constitution allows for freedom of speech and religious association. For decades, religious tensions have found their way into many facets of life in what is also an ethnically diverse country. This is most pronounced in northern Nigeria where many states have adopted variations of the conservative Islamic law since the country’s return to democracy in 1999.

Before and after the law, dissenting beliefs and opinions or actions deemed to be blasphemy have routinely sparked riots, mob action, or jail sentences in the region. Across the north, judgements critics of Islamic law consider harsh, including death by stoning, have been handed out repeatedly.

This has also been the case in Bauchi, one of Nigeria’s 36 states, which is wedged between the predominantly Christian Middle Belt and the mostly Muslim northeast. The state adopted Islamic law in 2001.

Nigeria is one of the 12 countries in the world that still criminalises blasphemy and one of the seven where it is punishable by death, according to Alapinni.

Isa Sanusi, country director for Amnesty International in Nigeria, said blasphemy or accusations of blasphemy are now a tool for gross human rights violations or even for “settling personal scores”.

“Repeatedly, Nigerian authorities failed to uphold and protect human rights by making sure that people are not either killed or attacked for expressing their opinions,” he told Al Jazeera.

Wakili Mathew Laslimbo, the general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Bauchi, said the minority Christian community in the state is unhappy about Jatau’s arrest. He told Al Jazeera that the association had tried everything possible to help, including trying to meet the state governor, to no avail.

“The arrest prove[s] to us that the freedom of speech and religion is highly restricted … the church continues to pray for her during gatherings,” her pastor Rev Ishaku Dano Ayuba told Al Jazeera.

The Bauchi state government did not respond to a request for comments. Temitope Ajayi, a presidential spokesperson, told Al Jazeera that the federal government had no knowledge of the case.

A pattern of extremism

There have also been other high-profile cases of blasphemy in recent years.

Mubarak Bala, an atheist and president of the Humanist Association of Nigeria who was arrested on the allegation of a blasphemous post on his Facebook account, has been in detention since 2020. Similarly, Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, a Sufi (Islamic) gospel artist, was sentenced to death on the charge of sharing blasphemous song lyrics on WhatsApp. The case is still in court.

Amnesty International has called for their immediate and unconditional release, as well as protection of their rights afterwards.

“Nigerian authorities must wake up to their national and international legal obligations to protect and promote human rights, including the right to freedom of religion,” Amnesty director Sanusi said.

In August, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief released a statement on the issue.

“We express concern over the criminalisation of blasphemy in Nigeria contrary to international human rights law and standards and the rising episodes of violence relating to accusations of blasphemy targeting religious minorities in Nigeria,” it said.

According to Sanusi, the latest case underscores the need for justice through a fair trial of all people suspected of responsibility for mob violence to deter would-be perpetrators.

After Yakubu’s lynching in Sokoto, the arrested perpetrators were let off the hook due to the negligence of the prosecution who refused to show up at the court hearing. In contrast, since Jatau was arrested by the police, she has been denied bail and her family has been in hiding for fear of violence against them.

Jatau’s ongoing ordeal, Dindari’s Kato said, is part of a pattern that signals that women in the north and Nigeria as a country are not safe.

“A person who was complaining about this injustice is the person that is going to jail,” she said. “Extremism takes out women and it is just disheartening. This means that women are not safe and we need to speak.”

Last August, the sultan of Sokoto, considered the leader of all Muslims in Nigeria, told new recruits in the one-year mandatory national youth service programme that Islamic law would not apply to non-Muslims among them.

Alapinni agrees, pointing out that Nigeria’s Court of Appeal had indeed ruled in two earlier cases that Islamic law is limited to Islamic personal law which includes succession, inheritance, and marriage.

“There is no room under the constitution for Sharia criminal law,” he said. “The sultan [of Sokoto] is right when he says the Sharia law is not supposed to affect non-Muslims. In fact, the Sharia criminal law should not have been promulgated in the first place … [it] has no place … in a country multicultural, diverse and multireligious like Nigeria,” he said.

By Pelumi Salako, Al Jazeera

Related stories: Nigerian accused of blasphemy stoned to death

Imam Sentenced to Death Over Blasphemy in Nigeria

Monday, November 27, 2023

Video - Over 100 kidnapped from four villages in Nigeria

Media in Nigeria reported that nearly 100 people were abducted in Zamfara state, in the northwestern part of the country. Bandits are said to have raided four villages, where they kidnapped residents for allegedly failing to pay protection levies imposed on the communities.


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Dozens kidnapped by motorcycle 'bandits' in Nigeria



Dozens kidnapped by motorcycle 'bandits' in Nigeria

At least 100 people have been abducted by gunmen in Nigeria's northwest, residents have said.

Locals told the BBC that armed men on motorcycles stormed villages in Zamfara state.

The residents were kidnapped after the villages failed to pay a "tax" imposed on them by the gunmen, witnesses said.

In recent years, kidnapping for ransom has become rife in north-western Nigeria.

Armed gangs, referred to locally as bandits, target villages, schools, and travellers, demanding millions of naira in ransom.

According to the Reuters news agency, a local village head said one resident was killed in Friday's attack.

The BBC heard from a resident from the village of Mutunji, who said he was abducted by the gunmen but managed to escape.

"We are trying to collect the money... but suddenly the bandits came in and robbed people. They took more than 100 people - most of them were women and young people," the resident said.

Locals told the BBC the gunmen's leader is named "Damana".

They said Damana controls most of the region in the absence of state security forces.

"The terrorists are in control of the area - they send us to the forest to work as agricultural labourers, and when we come back they come into the town to eat meat, tea and bottled goods without paying," one villager complained.

Nigeria faces multiple security challenges: the jihadist insurgency in the north, deadly clashes between animal herders and farmers, a separatist insurgency in the southeast as well as militants in the Niger Delta demanding a greater share of oil profits.

President Bola Tinubu, who took office in May, has yet to detail how he will tackle the insecurity. During his election campaign, Mr Tinubu's office acknowledged the challenge, touting his experience as governor of north-eastern Borno state, home to many Islamist militant groups and the Boko Haram insurgency.


Related stories: Video - 7 killed, others kidnapped in Nigeria

Video - Gunmen kidnap more than 30 people in Zamfara state, Nigeria

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Militants kill 37 villagers in latest attack in Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Extremists in northeastern Nigeria killed at least 37 villagers in two different attacks, residents said Wednesday, highlighting once again how deadly islamic extremist rebels have remained in their 14-year insurgency in the hard-hit region.

The extremists targeted villagers in Yobe state’s Geidam district on Monday and Tuesday in the first attack in the state in more than a year, shooting dead 17 people at first while using a land mine to kill 20 others who had gone to attend their burial, witnesses said.

The Boko Haram Islamic extremist group launched an insurgency in northeastern Nigeria in 2009 in an effort to establish their radical interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, in the region. At least 35,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced due to the extremist violence concentrated in Borno state, which neighbors Yobe.

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, who took office in May, has not succeeded in ending the nation’s security crises both in the northeast and in northwest and central regions where dozens of armed groups have been killing villagers and kidnapping travelers for ransom.

The first attack occurred in the remote Gurokayeya village in Geidam when gunmen opened fire on some villagers late Monday, killing 17 of them, according to Shaibu Babagana, a resident in the area. At least 20 villagers who had gone to attend their burial were then killed on Tuesday when they drove into a land mine that exploded, Babagana added.

Idris Geidam, another resident, said those killed were more than 40. Authorities could not provide the official death toll, as is sometimes the case following such attacks.

“This is one of the most horrific attacks by Boko Haram in recent times. For a burial group to be attacked shortly after the loss of their loved ones is beyond horrific,” Geidam said.

The Yobe state government on Wednesday summoned an emergency security meeting over the attacks which it blamed on extremists that entered the state from the neighboring Borno.

“The security agencies have deployed security men to the area and we are studying a report on the infiltration in an effort to stave off future occurrences,” Abdulsalam Dahiru, a Yobe government security aide, told reporters.

By Haruna Umar, AP 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

17 killed by militants in Nigeria for failing to pay 'cattle tax'

Jihadists affiliated to the Islamic State group killed 17 people in a raid on a remote village in northeast Nigeria after villagers refused to pay an illicit tax, anti-jihadist militia and a resident told AFP Tuesday.

Scores of fighters from Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) stormed the remote farming and herding village of Kayayya in Yobe State late on Monday, 150 kilometres from the state capital Damaturu, hurling explosives and opening fire, the sources said.

"The terrorists attacked the village around 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) with explosives and guns while the residents were chatting away the night," said Gremah Bukar, a militia member who assists the military fighting the jihadists.

"They then opened fire on those residents who tried to flee. They killed 17 people and injured five others," Bukar said.

According to a Yobe state police report, 20 people were killed and parts of the village razed before the militants fled. A Yobe state security official did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

The attack was in response to the villagers' refusal to pay jihadists a tax they demanded on cattle, Abubakar Adamu, said another militia member who gave the same toll.

Militants and armed groups in remote parts of Nigeria sometimes demand "taxes" on communities as a way to exercise control and raise funds.

Babagana Kyari, a resident of Geidam town, said the five injured in the Kayayya attack were taken to the general hospital in the town for medical attention.

"One of the injured victims said the ISWAP insurgents attacked the village because they told them they would not pay the cattle levy they imposed on the village," said Kyari who visited the injured at the hospital.

A Yobe state police report said 20 people were killed and that parts of the village were razed before the militants fled.

Over the last two years, jihadists have carried out attacks beyond their stronghold in northeast Borno State, the heart of the country's 14-year-long Islamist militant conflict.

Yobe, Borno state's immediate neighbour, has also borne the brunt of the jihadist violence, including deadly raids on villages, military bases, schools and markets, as well as mass abductions.

In April last year, ISWAP jihadists killed 11 people in attacks on bars and a technical college in Geidam, days after six people were killed and 16 injured in an explosion targeting another bar in northeastern Taraba state.

On Wednesday ISWAP claimed responsibility for an explosion at a bar in northeast Taraba state the day before which local police said killed six people and injured 16 others.

Nigeria's jihadist conflict has killed 40,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in the northeast since it erupted in 2009, according to the UN.