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Nigerian Authorities Respond To Killings North of the Country


Nigeria

Nigerian authorities have sent security reinforcements to areas in three states where armed groups killed scores of people over the weekend. Nigerian police say the gangs targeted civilians and security personnel in Nigeria's northwest and central states of Niger, Katsina and Kaduna. Security analysts say the attacks underscore authorities' failure to stem violence in the regions.

The attacks last weekend were some of the deadliest seen in northern Nigeria over the past year.

Authorities said the gangs, referred to locally as bandits, killed 12 people in Katsina, 11 in Niger, and 11 in Kaduna states. Some of the victims were burned alive as the attackers rained terror on communities, razing down houses.

Niger state authorities say fatalities included security personnel who were killed when gunmen overran a security base in the Shiroro local government area.

Commissioner of police Monday Bala-Kuryas says authorities are responding to the attacks.

"We have beefed up security in that place. And what we're doing also...areas that are closer (to the affected area) where we suspect bandits are there, we have also mobilized officers to those places and we're monitoring," said the Niger state police commissioner.

Authorities have also deployed heavily armed security reinforcements to the affected areas in Kaduna and Katsina states.

Authorities have not announced any arrests in connection with the attacks.

On Tuesday, Katsina State police spokesperson, Gambo Isah, said an undetermined number of people were also kidnapped in a separate attack in the state.

Security analyst Kabiru Adamu says security threats will persist unless government's forces dislodge forest hideouts known where the gangs usually take cover.

"They need to dominate it and by dominating it I mean, to take over those forests so that these bandits don't have space to operate in any longer. Any effort that is done and those forests are [still] left unoccupied, it means these bandits will still come through them especially in this instance where these gunmen are able to move across borders," Adamu expressed.

But the lingering security problems have been stretching Nigeria's internal security architecture.

Late last year Nigeria designated the groups as terrorist organizations. Experts say in theory, the designation gives security forces more fighting power and makes punishment against offenders more defined.

But security analyst Ebenezer Oyetakin says corruption is preventing authorities from making much progress.

"Our security forces, our security intelligence should get their acts together. We have compromised elements in our security system, in the financial system and in the society,” he noted.

Last month, some 200 people were killed and about 10,000 displaced after armed gangs launched a reprisal in northwestern Nigerian state of Zamfara following military air raids on their hideouts.

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