Nigerian Army declares “war” on criminal gangs

The head of the Nigerian Army, Farouk Yahaya, has declared “war” on criminal gangs operating in the country, in the face of a spike in killings and kidnappings in several areas in the north and northwest of the country in recent months.

Yahaya stressed that he has ordered the military to “be more determined” in dealing with the “bandits” and pointed to the need to reinforce operations because of the “war” situation in the country.

Thus, he has asked the soldiers to be “brutal” and to kill the bandits and seize their weapons. “What we experience with the bandits is the same as a war,” he has explained.

“We kill them and take their weapons, that is what we will continue to do,” Yahaya has maintained, as reported by the Nigerian daily ‘Vanguard’. “We are aware of the challenges,” he said, before applauding the work of the security forces.

“There are challenges across the nation and we are doing our best. In a war like this there may be surprises sometimes, but we will overcome them,” he said, while stressing that “if there is unity, they will be wiped out.”

Nigeria has suffered a deteriorating security situation in recent years due to the operations of jihadist groups and criminal gangs involved in a number of kidnappings following attacks on educational institutions.

Armed attacks in Nigeria, previously centered in the northeast of the country – where Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) operate – have expanded in recent months to other areas in the north and northwest, raising alarms about the possible expansion of these terrorist networks.