from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – NIGERIAN authorities believe they have made a breakthrough in the fight against rampant bandits.
This follows the arrest of a woman suspected to supply the militants with ammunition.
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have apprehended the suspect Bilkisu Suleman (aged 28) during new year operations in the states worst affected by the banditry.
Operations were carried out in Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Lagos, Niger and Osun.
Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA spokesperson, said the woman was arrested at a prominent expressway between Kano and Kaduna where she was found in possession of 249 rounds of 7.62 mm live ammunition concealed in a nylon bag kept in her lady’s handbag.
“She was on her way to deliver the ammunition to an identified bandit in Kakumi village, Katsina state when she was nabbed,” Babafemi said.
The suspect has been transferred to the Kaduna state command of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for further investigation.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest nation by population, estimated at 226 million, is enduring a surge in violent crimes.
Bandits are running riot in the West African country and in the biggest such attack over the festive season, more than 160 people in the central Plateau state.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu condemned the attacks.
“While condoling with the government and the people of Plateau State, I assure all Nigerians that the envoys of death, pain and sorrow responsible for these acts will not escape justice,” he assured.
Amnesty International this past weekend said an alarming escalation of attacks on rural areas of Kaduna, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara had left people more unsafe, showing utter failure of the Nigerian authorities to protect lives and properties.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that as at September 2023, more than 363 000 Nigerians had fled the northwest and northeast of the country and registered as refugees in Cameroon, Chad or Niger.
Other attacks have been blamed on Boko Haram, the Islamist insurgent group that Tinubu’s predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, had said had been “technically defeated.”
An attack by the sect left at least 12 people dead in the Kwari Geidam area of northeastern Yobe last Friday.
– CAJ News