Nigeria: Thousands Living in Fear As Armed Bandit Attack Zamfara Daily - Amnesty International

(file photo).

Amnesty International (AI) has said at least 371 people were killed since January 2018 and dozens of villages sacked in Zamfara, as armed bandits hold sway in the North Western state of Nigeria.

In a statement on Tuesday by the Nigeria spokesman of AI, Isa Sanusi, it said insecurity is escalating in Zamfara state, with daily killings and kidnappings by armed bandits leaving villagers in constant fear of attack.

He said thousands of people have been displaced by a conflict which began in 2012 as a result of clashes between farmers and herders.

Sanusi quoted the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho as saying, "This is Nigeria's forgotten conflict. The authorities' failure to act has left villagers in Zamfara at the mercy of armed bandits, who have killed hundreds of people over the course of two bloody years."

He said, "When we visited the region, villagers told us that they had pleaded with the government to help them after receiving warning letters from the bandits ahead of attacks but had received no protection.

"The Nigerian authorities have repeatedly claimed to be tackling the situation, but the mounting death toll tells a different story," Ojigho said.

AI has last Friday noted that 18 villages in the Mashema, Kwashabawa and Birane districts of Zurmi local government area of Zamfara state were attacked, leaving at least 42 people dead.

At least, 18,000 residents of the affected villages who were displaced over the weekend are now taking refuge at various locations in the local government headquarters, the following day a further 15 people were kidnapped in Maradun local government area.

He said, "Previous military interventions have failed to end the killings, especially in rural areas of Zamfara.

He added that at least 371 people have been killed in Zamfara in 2018 alone, and at least 238 of these killings took place after the deployment of the Nigerian Air Force.

"The government is still neglecting the most vulnerable communities in this region", he said.

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