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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid