News / Africa

Arms Fuel Sectarian, Insurgent Violence in Nigeria

Residents stand in front of destroyed properties and houses following an attack in the northeast Nigerian village of Kawuri, Jan. 28, 2014.
Residents stand in front of destroyed properties and houses following an attack in the northeast Nigerian village of Kawuri, Jan. 28, 2014.
Heather Murdock
Scores of people have been killed and entire villages burned to the ground in recent days in ongoing battles between herders and farmers in rural northern and central Nigeria.  Northern leaders say weapons are being smuggled into Nigeria from other African conflicts and security forces are increasingly outgunned and outmanned. 

Cow herders in northern Nigeria said an AK-47 can cost about $2,000, but they sometimes had no choice but to sell some animals to protect the rest from thieves.

Attacks and counter attacks between farmers and cow herders in Nigeria have been going on for decades, but in recent years, insurgency and political crises have intensified the fighting.

The national secretary of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Association of Nigeria, Sale Bayari, said regional insecurity had in some cases driven down the price of weapons to as little as a few sacks of maize.

“Because of the crisis in Libya, the crisis in Niger, the crisis in Mali we believe that a lot of arms, we know, got their way into Nigeria,” said Bayari.

More weapons, he said, mean more casualties in battles.  More casualties mean more revenge attacks. 

The chairman of the Northern Governor’s Forum, Niger State Governor Aliyu Babangida, said hundreds of people have been killed in clashes during the past week. 

At a conference on Monday he asked the federal government to send more troops to guard international borders where weapons are smuggled into Nigeria.

“The forum calls on the federal government to secure the country’s porous borders by restricting transport and movement, especially in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe,” said the governor.

The three states he mentions have been under emergency rule for nine months as security forces battle Islamist militants known as Boko Haram.

The group has killed thousands of people in the past four and a half years.  This insurgency is a separate issue from clashes between cow herders and farmers, but the crises feed off each other. 

In general, the clashes are between Muslim cow herders and Christian farmers, and the groups are also divided from each other ethnically and politically. 

Imam Sani Isa, from the Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria, said Boko Haram, which says it wants to enforce its own harsh version of Islamic law, fueled hostilities between Christians and Muslims by claiming its attacks were motivated by religion.

"The insurgents of Boko Haram increase the volume of the conflict in the north between the Christians and the Muslims," said Isa.

This week, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state, which is the heart of the insurgency, angered federal officials by saying insurgents have more weapons and more motivation than Nigerian security forces.

At a press conference in the Nigerian capital Tuesday, a spokesperson for President Goodluck Jonathan said violence has increased recently because security forces have chased Boko Haram fighters from their hideouts and that nearly a quarter of Nigeria’s national budget in 2014 is allotted for security.  


(Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.)

You May Like

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ajakayi Ija
February 19, 2014 4:52 PM
The main reason why it is difficult to contain Boko Haram is that they are not located at a specific war front. Members are part of the common populace, walking the streets without uniform until called up for operation, engaged in self employment activities, and seeing the federal law enforcement agents go by. Without a war front they are virtually invisible - they see federal troops, but federal troops cannot see them. Contain the northen borders? Unfortunately that cannot happen as long as corruption is alive.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs