Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International says over 1,100 villagers have been killed in 2020 by armed gangs in several states across Central and North-West Nigeria.
Amnesty International stated this in a release on Monday, August 24; noting that raids have escalated in these areas.
Furthermore, it laid the blame squarely at the feet of the Nigerian government. Amnesty International accused the Federal Government of not doing enough to protect rural citizens.
“The Nigerian authorities have left rural communities at the mercy of rampaging gunmen; who have killed at least 1,126 people in the north of the country since January,” Amnesty International said.
Specifically, the rights watchdog revealed that the death toll spans the end of June, 2020. Further, it says the killings, during attacks by “bandits” or armed cattle rustlers; and in clashes between herders and farming communities for access to land, have been recurrent for several years.
ALSO READ: Amnesty International criticises FG for failure to ensure adequate security, curb banditry
Amnesty said it had interviewed civilians in Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara states; who reported living in fear of attacks and abductions.
“Terrifying attacks on rural communities in the north of Nigeria have been going on for years,” said Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria. The ongoing failure of security forces to take sufficient steps to protect villagers from these predictable attacks is utterly shameful.”
Meanwhile, Amnesty International says armed groups loot and set fire to villages and frequently kidnap people for ransom; apparently with no ideological motive. Many experts have recently warned against associating the attackers with jihadist groups active in the region.
Ojigho decried reported abuse of civilians who asked for more official help and protection.
“In their response to these attacks, the Nigerian authorities have displayed gross incompetence and a total disregard for people’s lives,” he said.
“Arresting people who dare to ask for help is a further blow,” he stated.