2022 Zamfara massacres

From 4 to 6 January 2022, over 200 people were killed by bandits in Zamfara State, Nigeria.[1] This was the deadliest terrorist attack in recent Nigerian history.[2]

Background

Nigerian bandit conflict, in which thousands of people have been killed, began in 2011 and is linked to the farmer-herder conflicts and the Boko Haram insurgency. Bandit gangs carry out attacks in several northwestern states, including mass kidnappings and massacres. Attacks in Zamfara State in 2021 include the kidnapping of 279 secondary schoolgirls in Jangebe in February and the massacre of over 50 villagers in Zurmi in June.[3]

Prior to the attacks, airstrikes by government forces on 3 January resulted in the deaths of over 100 bandits and the destruction of numerous bases.[4] This led to bandits being pushed forward into the region, where they carried out reprisal attacks.[5] A few days later the Nigerian government designated the bandits to be terrorists.[6]

Massacres

Shortly before the attacks, bandits led a raid on a group of 3,000 cattle only to be confronted by local vigilantes, leading to a gunfight and battle between the two parties. The outnumbered vigilantes lost and many of them were slain by bandits, and the killings of villagers began.[7][8][9]

Beginning around 12:45 PM, on Tuesday, 4 January, bandit gunmen on motorcycles whose numbers have been estimated as stretching from 300 to 500[10] entered the town of Kurfar Danya, marking the start of a series of attacks on villages in the Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas of Zamfara.[11][1][12] Gangs shot villagers as they looted and burned their homes to the ground.[13] For two days, armed bandits laid siege to the towns of Kurfa and Rafin-Gero without an intervention by the government.[14][12] Five different settlements were destroyed by bandits.[15] One survivor described bandits as shooting "anyone on sight."[16]

The massacres ended on Thursday, 6 January, after military forces intercepted bandits.[4][12] A bandit leader named Bello Turji was accused of being responsible for the massacres.[17][18][19][20]

List of settlements confirmed targeted

Name Date attacked Details References
Kurfar Danya 4 January First to be targeted; population displaced [15][8][12]
Rafin Danya 4 January Destroyed [20][8]
Barayar Zaki 4 January [8][21]
Rafin Gero 4 January Besieged, destroyed [8][12][22]
Waramu [17][23]
Tungar Isa Destroyed [24][22]
Kewaye [15][22]
Tungar Na More [25][26]

Victims

Zamfara State authorities placed the death toll at 58, but this was widely controversial.[27][28] Some internally displaced people stated the number of people killed as 154.[16] A spokesperson for Sadiya Umar Farouq, the minister of humanitarian affairs, said that more than 200 bodies were buried,[1] a number also reported by local residents.[29] Among the victims of the killings was Gambo Abare, a prominent leader of anti-bandit vigilante groups.[17][30]

Aftermath

Over ten thousand people became internally displaced persons and five settlements were burned down.[15][1] Many resources were stolen, with an estimated 2,000 cattle being taken by bandits.[31][32] Nigerian authorities arrived to the districts to help organize mass burials, and are still active.[16] As of 10 January, many people were still missing,[33] and relief efforts were ongoing.[34]

The Nigerian government and police have launched a manhunt for the perpetrators, employing military aircraft.[35][36]

Attacks by bandits have not ceased, and on 10 January, bandits stormed the Zamfaran village of Yar Kuka, abducting twelve people, including the village head, his wife and brother, and two miners from Burkina Faso.[37] The next day, bandits raided Kadauri in Maru LGA, kidnapping six women.[38] On 11 January bandits slaughtered 51 civilians from Plateau and Niger States in a similar incident.[39]

On 12 January, Zamfara governor Bello Matawalle announced that lack of security had become "an existential threat" in the state and the North-West of Nigeria as a whole, and demanded that the federal government involve itself further in the conflict.[40][41][42][43]

Reactions

Nigerian

On 8 January, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari condemned the murders, adding that Nigeria would seek to crack down on terrorism in the country.[44][16] Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Anyim said he was saddened by the killings, denouncing "the destruction of lives and property" by the perpetrators.[45]

The Emirs of Anka and Bukkuyum, Alhaji Attahir Ahmad and Alhaji Muhammad Usman respectively, promoted heavier security presence in the area. Bello Matawalle immediately took a visit to the towns affected, meeting and talking to survivors and their families. He criticized the media for purportedly exaggerating casualty estimates, saying the media "have variously quoted scary figures of deaths arising from the recent attacks by fleeing bandits."[46]

The All Progressives Congress condemned the incident, stating it would support the Nigerian Armed Forces in its quest to track down the perpetrators. John James Akpan Udo-Edehe extended "heartfelt condolences to the families that lost loved ones and commiserates with the government and people of Zamfara state" on behalf of the party.[47][48]

The Nigeria Labour Congress denounced the massacres and the "wickedness and inhumanity" the bandits had caused.[49]

Femi Fani-Kayode, who previously served as Nigeria's Aviation ministry, proposed that Nigeria could prevent future massacres by adopting the practice of carpet bombing, noting that the military had recently acquired Tucano jets.[50] The governor of Kaduna State, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, also supported using the method.[51]

They kill people in Sokoto, you mobilise the army there, and chase them out, they move to Kebbi, from Kebbi if they are bombed, they move to Kaduna. What should be done is to bomb them from the air, ground, troops on the ground at the same time in all five, six states of the North West plus Niger. And this problem can be sorted out in my view, in weeks. I believe the levels of insecurity now are at a tipping point and something is got to give. My hope is that what will give is the end of this banditry once and for all. It is a problem.[52]

-Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai

International

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded it was "deeply saddened to receive the news that over one hundred civilians lost their lives during several attacks in the Zamfara State."[54][55]

On 10 January, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres expressed sharp condemnation of the incident, lending support to anti-terror operations in Nigeria, telling Nigerian authorities to "spare no effort in bringing those responsible for these heinous crimes to justice".[56] Guterres reaffirmed UN solidarity with the country.[57][58][59]

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation denounced the incident, expressing empathy to the victims.[60]

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry sent condolences and condemned the massacres as terrorist attacks.[61]

References

  1. ^ a b c d "At least 200 dead in bandit attacks in northwest Nigeria". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  2. ^ Egbas, Jude (8 January 2022). "Terrorists kill more than 200 in Zamfara, Buhari fumes". Pulse Nigeria. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  3. ^ "Hundreds killed in multiple gun raids in northwestern Nigeria". France 24. 9 January 2022. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Authorities: Death Toll Surpass 200 in Attacks in Nigeria's North". VOA. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Reprisal Attacks in Nigeria's Zamfara State Kill 200 Civilians". Democracy Now!. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  6. ^ "At least 200 villagers killed by bandits in north-west Nigeria". the Guardian. 9 January 2022. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Armed bandits kill at least 30 in Nigeria's Zamfara state". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ a b c d e "How Zamfara terrorists invaded our villages, killed over 200, burnt houses –Survivors". Punch Newspapers. 8 January 2022. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Bloodbath in Zamfara villages as bandits kill 200, scores missing". Punch Newspapers. 7 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  10. ^ Reporters, Our Correspondent Our. "Banditry: Over 10,000 victims rendered homeless in Zamfara – FG". New Telegraph. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Death toll in attacks in Nigeria's Zamfara state around 200 - residents". National Post. 8 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  12. ^ a b c d e Reuters (8 January 2022). "Armed bandits kill at least 30 in Nigeria's Zamfara state". Reuters. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  13. ^ "More Than 100 Killed in Attack in Nigeria's North, Reports Say". VOA. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Armed Bandits Kill at Least 30 in Nigeria's Zamfara State". US News. 7 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  15. ^ a b c d "Bandits burn down five Zamfara communities, kill many people". Premium Times. 6 January 2022. Archived from the original on 7 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  16. ^ a b c d "Nigeria's president condemns killings in Zamfara state". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 9 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ a b c "Zamfara Attacks: Over 50 dead bodies found as residents panic over rumour of Turji's relocation". www.premiumtimesng.com. 7 January 2022. Archived from the original on 7 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  18. ^ "Endless massacres by Islamists in Nigeria: Boko, ISIS, Turji loyalists, Fulani, and others | Modern Tokyo Times". 10 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  19. ^ Gabriel, John (9 January 2022). "Zamfara killings: You'll never know peace – University don curses bandits, sponsors". Daily Post Nigeria. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  20. ^ a b "Lives valueless under Buhari's govt – Kingsley Moghalu - P.M. News". P.M. News. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  21. ^ "Bandits dare Nigerian military, return to Zamfara to massacre 218 civilians". Peoples Gazette. 8 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  22. ^ a b c editing (6 January 2022). "Bandits Attack Five Zamfara Communities, Kill Many Residents". Sahara Reporters. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  23. ^ Reporters, Our Correspondent Our. "Buhari: Zamfara massacre, act of desperation by mass murderer". New Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  24. ^ "Más de 200 muertos en ataques de bandidos en Nigeria". abc (in Spanish). 8 January 2022. Archived from the original on 8 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  25. ^ Edokwe, Bridget (8 January 2022). "Over 200 Residents Buried As Bandits Raze Zamfara Communities In Fresh Attacks". BarristerNG.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  26. ^ Brown, Tamsin (9 January 2022). "Hundreds killed in vicious bandit attacks on Nigerian villages". EuroWeekly News. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  27. ^ "Nigerian locals, authorities give varying attack death tolls". CBS17. 9 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  28. ^ CNN, Story by Reuters and Nimi Princewill. "Scores killed in northwest Nigeria during reprisal attacks by armed bandits". CNN. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  29. ^ "About 200 Dead in Attacks in Northwest Nigeria, Residents Say". US News. 8 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  30. ^ "Insecurity: Round-up Of Northwest Nigeria's Week Of Mixed Fortunes". HumAngle Media. 8 January 2022. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  31. ^ "Nigeria motorbike gang attack: Death toll rises to 200". BBC News. 9 January 2022. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  32. ^ "Nigeria: Armed assailants kill up to 200 civilians in attacks in Zamfara State Jan. 5-6". GardaWorld. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  33. ^ AfricaNews (10 January 2022). "Nigeria: bandits attacks kill at least 200, displacing thousands". Africanews. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  34. ^ AFP (10 January 2022). "Nigeria attacks leave 200 dead, thousands displaced". DAWN.COM. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  35. ^ "Survivors: Over 100 killed in attack in Nigeria's north". The Toronto Star. 7 January 2022. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  36. ^ "Death toll in Nigeria raids by gunmen climbs to 200, says official". Al Arabiya English. 9 January 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  37. ^ "Boko Haram still in control of 2 Borno LGAs, says Zulum". Vanguard News. 13 January 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  38. ^ "Bandits abduct village head, two foreigners, nine others in Zamfara". Premium Times. 12 January 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  39. ^ "Bandits kill 51, houses burnt in attacks on communities". The Nation Newspaper. 13 January 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  40. ^ "Insecurity in North-west now an existential threat - Zamfara Governor". www.premiumtimesng.com. 12 January 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  41. ^ "Nigeria: Attacks leave at least 52 killed in Plateau and Niger states Jan. 11-12". Nigeria: Attacks leave at least 52 killed in Plateau and Niger states Jan. 11-12 | Crisis24. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  42. ^ "Newspaper Headlines: Bandits kill 51 in Plateau, Niger communities". TheCable. 13 January 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  43. ^ Bagudu, Mustapha (13 January 2022). "Bandits Kill 13 Villagers In Niger Communities". The Will Nigeria. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  44. ^ "Buhari condemns massacre of about 200 villagers in Zamfara". www.premiumtimesng.com. 9 January 2022. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  45. ^ "Zamfara killings: Anyim mourns, says people should not live in fear in their own home". Punch Newspapers. 9 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  46. ^ "Killings: Zamfara emirs cry for help, Buhari vows to crush terrorists". Punch Newspapers. 9 January 2022. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  47. ^ "Defeated bandits running from military onslaught in Zamfara, APC says". Peoples Gazette. 10 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  48. ^ "Killings in Zamfara won't go unpunished, says APC". TheCable. 10 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  49. ^ "NLC condemns recent massacre in Zamfara". The Sun (Nigeria). 10 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  50. ^ Silas, Don (9 January 2022). "Zamfara massacre: Time to consider use of American Tucano jets – Fani-Kayode". Daily Post Nigeria. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  51. ^ "BANDITS: El-Rufai's call for carpet-bombing raises dust". Vanguard News. 9 January 2022. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  52. ^ "Carpet-Bombing: The collateral damage 'll be enormous — Pundit tells El-Rufai". Vanguard News. 8 January 2022. Archived from the original on 9 January 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  53. ^ António Guterres [@antonioguterres] (10 January 2022). "I strongly condemn the appalling attacks perpetrated over the weekend in Nigeria's Zamfara State in which many civilians were killed. I urge the Nigerian authorities to spare no effort in bringing those responsible for these heinous crimes to justice" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  54. ^ "Turkey condemns 'heinous' attacks in northwestern Nigeria". Anadolu Agency. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  55. ^ "Dışişleri Bakanlığı'ndan Nijerya'daki saldırıya kınama". TGRT Haber (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  56. ^ "UN chief condemns 'appalling' attacks in Nigeria". Saudi Gazetteglish. 11 January 2022. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  57. ^ "Zamfara Attacks: UN scribe condemns killings, urges FG to arrest perpetrators". Premium Times. 11 January 2022. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  58. ^ "Zamfara: UN chief Guterres condemns massacre of over 200 people by bandits". Peoples Gazette. 10 January 2022. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  59. ^ "Scores of civilians dead, UN chief condemns 'appalling' attacks in Nigeria". UN News. 10 January 2022. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  60. ^ "OIC condemns violence in Nigeria's Zamfara". Arab News. 11 January 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  61. ^ "Egypt Offers Condolences to Nigeria over Victims of Zamfara Attacks - Sada El balad". see.news. 9 January 2022. Retrieved 13 January 2022.

Copyright