Nigerian state approves carrying guns to defend against bandits

The violence has forced thousands to flee their homes.
Image: Adetona Omokanye/Bloomberg

Nigerian northern Zamfara State will allow people to carry guns to protect themselves against armed bandits after authorities failed to curb a rise in kidnappings and killings.

The government has told police to issue firearm licenses “to all those who qualify and are wishing to obtain guns to defend themselves,” Hudu Yahaya, a spokesman for governor Bello Matawalle, said on his Facebook page. It’s intended “to deal with the recent escalating attacks, kidnapping and the criminal levies being enforced on our innocent communities,” he said.

Many states in Nigeria’s northern region, including Zamfara, have been targeted by armed militants and bandits who have been carrying out a growing number of kidnappings for ransom and murders. The violence has forced thousands to flee their homes. Crime is growing at the same time authorities are battling Islamist insurgents and facing separatist unrest in various parts of the country.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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