BackChannels source this morning relayed the following from Lagos, Nigeria in relation to raids by apparent herdsman against largely disarmed villages.
- Since the first of the years, source claims, more than 500 Nigerians have been slaughtered in raids and no arrests have been made;
- The number of Internally Displaced Persons associated with the conflict exceeds 200,000;
- The Nigerian government has been repossessing simple weapons from villagers while attackers typically carrying AK-47s surround their targets and destroy buildings and stores with burning petrol;
- The complement attending raids may average about 100 or more fighters;
- Source of arms: Libya, other Arab nations, and Turkey.
In 2013, news reports mentioned a Hezbollah cell and weapons cache in Nigeria; the latest weapons seizure of similar scale in 2017 appears to have originated through Turkish channels.
Although Fulani herdsman have been blamed en masse for the aggression noted, BackChannels has heard suggestion that the weaponizing may devolve to the same forces backing extremist organizations elsewhere. The 2013 Hezbollah connection and the more recent 2017 interdiction involving Turkey would appear to support that thesis.
Recruitment into raiding units would also appear to correspond to conditions channeling fighters into rogue organizations elsewhere.
Dr. Omolade Adunbi, Assistant Professor, Political Anthropology, University of Michigan noted the following earlier this year in the publication Africa is a Country: “The question then becomes, how are these insurgents with no clarity of purpose able to recruit members into their dysfunctional group? The answer to this question is not far-fetched. First, the effect of climate change on the rise of social inequality in many parts of the country has meant the increased susceptibility of socially vulnerable groups to recruitment.”
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BackChannels can never “vet” these videos, but most recognize this conflict in Nigeria as involving cattlemen, basically, and farmers. Less played may be the role played by religion in the conflict, which here has been made apparent:
Posted to YouTube 1/16/2018
Considering the 2013 Hezbollah weapons cache story, the latest interdiction of arms involving Turkish (criminal, of course) channeling, the claim of arms coming from Libya and more recent participation associated with Turkey and the activities of Moscow and Tehran in manipulating conflicts and extremism into existence (listen to the BBC interview of a once Soviet admiral on the Ogaden War), the drivers of this latest tragedy in Nigeria may start to surface.
Abiodun, Eromosele. “Turkish Govt to Deal with Collaborators of Arms Shipment to Nigeria.” This Day Live, September 27, 2017. Denial —
The Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Hakan Cakil, in a meeting with the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), over importation of four containers of pump-action rifles into Nigeria in last eight months vowed to help Nigeria fish out criminals behind the illegal arms shipment to Nigeria.
Adunbi, Omolade. “How did Fulani herdsmen become such bogeymen in Nigeria?” Africa Is A Country, February 1, 2018 —
The question then becomes, how are these insurgents with no clarity of purpose able to recruit members into their dysfunctional group? The answer to this question is not far-fetched. First, the effect of climate change on the rise of social inequality in many parts of the country has meant the increased susceptibility of socially vulnerable groups to recruitment . . . .
Amnesty International: Nigeria 2017/2018.
Amnesty International. “Nigeria: Dozens killed as military launches air attacks on villages beset by spiralling communal violence.” January 30, 2018 —
On 4 December 2017, Nigeria’s air force sent fighter jets to fire rockets at villages as a “warning” to deter spiralling communal violence, as hundreds of herdsmen attacked at least five villages in Adamawa state to avenge the massacre of up to 51 members of their community, mostly children, the previous month in Kikan.
An Amnesty International team visited the villages in the aftermath of the air raids and gathered witness testimony from residents who described being attacked by a fighter jet and a military helicopter as they attempted to flee.
BBC News. “Nigeria: Hezbollah armoury discovered in Kano city.” May 30, 2013 —
The cache, including rifles, anti-tank weapons and an RPG, were found in a warehouse in the city of Kano, he said.
Nigeria’s State Security Service said they were intended for use against “Israeli and Western interests”.
BBC News. “Nigeria: How Customs seize 1,100 guns for port.” September 11, 2017.
BBC News. “Nigeria’s Benue clashes: Mass burial after farmer-Fulani clashes.” January 11, 2018 —
Mr Onoja, who was at the funeral, said 73 people were being buried.
He defended his state’s controversial ban on open cattle grazing implemented in November, which Fulani herders have complained targets them unfairly.
“Our economy in Benue State depends on agriculture,” he said. “Take that away and we have a serious problem.”
Come to Nigeria. “Hausa and Fulani People”.
Eboh, Camillus. “Nigeria says arrests Iran-linked cell targeting U.S., Israel.” Reuters, February 21, 2013.
(Reuters) – Nigeria’s secret service say they have arrested a “terrorist cell” trained in Iran who planned to attack U.S. and Israeli targets in Africa’s most populous nation.
The State Security Service (SSS) said they arrested Abdullahi Mustapha Berende and two other Nigerians in December after Berende made several suspicious trips to Iran where he interacted with Iranians in a “high profile terrorist network”.
Inyang, Ifreke. “No one can defeat us in Nigeria — Fulani national leader, Bello boasts.” Daily Post, January 29, 2018.
The National Chairman of Fulbe (Fulani) Development Association of Nigeria (FULDAN), Malam Ahmad Usman Bello, has declared that they cannot be defeated by any ethnic group in the country.
Bello made the remarks while speaking with Saturday Tribune in Kano, amid the widespread outcry against the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen in Benue, Plateau and Taraba states and many other parts of the country.
Sahara Reporters. “470 Guns Seized at Lagos Port.” September 22, 2017.
The federal government is set to meet Turkish diplomats today over the spate of illegal importation of rifles from Turkey to Nigeria.
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Comptroller-General (CG) Col. Hameed Ali (retd) said this when he briefed reporters over the seizure of another 470 rifles at Tin-Can Island port in Lagos.
Sahara Reporters. “Amnesty International Brands Nigeria’s Response To Fulani Herdsmen Violence Inadequate, Reveals 717 Killed In Less Than 2 Years.” January 29 2018.
The body also said communal clashes have claimed over 700 lives since last year. AI made its position known in a statement issued on Monday. It stated that clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Ondo and Kaduna states have resulted in 168 deaths in January alone.
Sahara Reporters. “Fulani Herdsmen Kill 4 Soldiers in Garrison Commander’s Convey, Injure Scores in Plateau.” March 17, 2018.