Nigerian Army Conducts Airstrikes on Bandit Militias in North-west, About 100 Gunmen Killed: Reports
11:40 14.10.2023 (Updated: 13:42 14.10.2023)
© AFP 2023 PATRICK MEINHARDTNigerian military
© AFP 2023 PATRICK MEINHARDT
Since 2011, the north-western and central Nigerian states, including Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states, have been struggling with insecurity caused by bandit militias, who raid villages, killing and kidnapping people for ransom.
Airstrikes on bandit positions in the state of Zamfara in north-west Nigeria were carried out by the country's air forces, as a result of the strikes about 100 gunmen were killed, media reported citing sources.
"Fighter jets conducted airstrikes on bandits. I'm sure more than 100 were killed and almost twice that number were badly injured," one of the military sources involved in the operation was quoted by the media as saying.
According to the outlet, the number was confirmed by a second source. Both of them spoke on condition of anonymity.
The spokesman of Nigerian Air forces Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet confirmed that the country's military conducted the airstrikes. However, he did not specify the number of bandits killed, the media said.
In the run-up to the airstrikes, intelligence provided the army with information that gangs had gathered in an area on the border of the country's Zamfara, Kebbi and Niger states and had been planning to attack villages and a military base, located nearby, the outlet noted.
As for the first intensive aerial operation against bandit militias, it was conducted in 2015 when Nigerian forces were deployed in the area to fight the gangs, the media reported.
After the instability in north-western Nigeria provoked by the herder-farmer conflicts, in 2011 various criminal and jihadist elements started terrorizing rural areas there. They reportedly ride into villages on motorbikes to abduct locals for ransom, killing anyone who tries to resist. According to media, between 2011 and 2020, the bandits received more than $23,200 (18 million Nigerian naira) this way.
The herder-farmer disputes are continuing. The started at the end of the 20th century, between the mostly Muslim herders of the local ethnic group Fulani and the mostly Christian non-Fulani farmers over arable land across Nigeria.