According to news agencies, around 200 people have been killed and 10,000 displaced in attacks by armed bandits, following military airstrikes on their hiding places last week.
In one declaration, the UN chief offered his sincere condolences to the families of the victims, urging the Nigerian authorities to “spare no effort to bring those responsible for these heinous crimes to justice”.
I strongly condemn the appalling attacks carried out over the weekend in Zamfara State in Nigeria, in which scores of civilians were killed.
I urge the Nigerian authorities to spare no effort to bring those responsible for these heinous crimes to justice.
– António Guterres (@antonioguterres) January 10, 2022
Mr. Guterres also reaffirmed the United Nations solidarity and support to the Government and people of Nigeria in their fight against terrorism, violent extremism and organized crime.
Increase in kidnappings and violent crime
Northwestern Nigeria has seen a sharp increase in mass kidnappings and other violent crimes since late 2020.
In April 2021, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned that years of insecurity created a massive humanitarian emergency in the Lake Chad basin and uprooted some 3.3 million people and, in October, the United Nations World Food Program (PAM) warned that displaced families in that part of the country “were knocking on the door of famine”.
About 4.4 million people faced acute food insecurity in conflict-affected Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. Over a million children were already suffering from malnutrition.
Also last year, following a series of attacks and kidnappings in schools, more than a dozen independent experts appointed by the UN warned that too little was being done to help traumatized adolescents, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Country representative Peter Hawkins explained that such incidents have become “a way of life” for many.
Bandits who hope to make quick cash by forcing families and authorities to pay ransom to their hostages, often target institutions just beyond the reach of state control and typically located in rural areas.