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International: Nigerian authorities warn of increased gang, terror activities

The Nigerian authorities have raised concerns over the recent growth of both terror and gang-related activities orchestrated by both the Islamic State jihadists and the bandits in the northeastern and northwestern regions.

Image Credit: AUDU MARTE: AFP

Pictured: Nigerian security forces are seen on the site of a sabotage attack allegedly perpetrated by Boko Haram against electrical infrastructures on the outskirts of Maiduguri.

They warned that this may further complicate the task of Nigeria's security forces, who are running a widespread operation against both the jihadists in Borno state and against the criminal gangs also known as the bandits.

On 23 July, a memo from Nigeria's immigration chief Muhammad Babandede warned of a major "movement of bandits from Zamfara in the northwest towards Borno region who are seeking intensive training by Boko Haram".

Nigerian forces killed 78 gunmen on Thursday, known locally as bandits, during military operations including airstrikes in northwestern Zamfara state, the air force said. So-called bandits have abducted more than 600 schoolchildren since December, including in two mass kidnappings reminiscent of the Chibok schoolgirls incident that captivated the world in 2014.

Armed bandits have killed scores of civilians and security forces in recent months and kidnapped hundreds of Nigerians from villages, schools, and motorways across the country.

Heavily armed outlaws have terrorized northwest and central Nigeria for years, but the groups have recently stepped up attacks on schools, kidnapping hundreds of students for ransom and encouraging a military response.

The Nigerian military first deployed to the area in 2016 and a peace deal with bandits was signed in 2019 but attacks on communities have continued.

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