Violence in Nigeria – what and where

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Islamist extremist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for abducting hundreds of boys from a boarding school in Nigeria’s Katsina state, according to an audio recording.

Last week’s abductions added to growing public anger over violence and insecurity across Africa’s most populous nation.

The following are details on violence affecting different regions of Nigeria.

ISLAMIST INSURGENTS, NORTH-EAST NIGERIA

Boko Haram and its Islamic State offshoot, Islamic State West Africa Province, have waged a decade-long insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria.

The violence displaced about two million people and killed more than 30 000, according to the UN refugee agency and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a New York-based think tank.

Nigerian troops began withdrawing last year to “super camps” that can be more easily defended against insurgents. This left villages, roads and civilians more vulnerable to attacks, according to security officials and residents.

Last month, Boko Haram killed scores of farmers and beheaded some , in Borno state.

The group has not previously claimed attacks in the north-west of Nigeria.

BANDITS, NORTH-WEST NIGERIA

Armed gangs that rob and kidnap for ransom, commonly described as “bandits”, are active across the north-west.

These groups killed more than 1 100 people in the first half of 2020, according to rights group Amnesty International.

Amnesty said it had “documented an alarming escalation in attacks and abductions” since January.

The banditry made it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to farm, travel or access some states’ rich mineral assets, including gold.

FARMER-HERDER CLASHES, MIDDLE BELT

Clashes between nomadic cattle herders and farmers in Nigeria’s Middle Belt killed thousands and displaced half a million over the past decade, according to estimates from French medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

In the past, authorities blamed the violence on religion or ethnic divisions, but locals say groups are fighting for access to fertile land and water.

Experts fear the conflict will worsen as global warming intensifies competition for scarce resources.

PROTESTS AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY, NATIONWIDE

What began as largely peaceful protests against police brutality turned violent in October after security forces fired on demonstrators, according to witnesses and Amnesty.

At least 10 people were killed in the upscale Lagos neighbourhood Lekki on October 20, Amnesty said. The army and police denied shooting protesters and said their actions during the protests kept the nation safe.

In the days followingh, rioting, looting and lawlessness broke out across the country. It was the worst unrest in Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999.

PIRACY, VANDALISM AND THEFT IN NIGER DELTA

The turmoil and lack of economic development in the oil-producing Niger Delta region led oil companies to step up security for their installations this year.

Kidnappings are common in the area. Additionally, the number of attacks by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, most of who experts say are based in Nigeria, rose sharply in recent years. The Gulf of Guinea now accounts for 95% of all global maritime kidnappings according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).