Analysis of data gathered by the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) has shown that at least 917 were killed as a result of armed conflict across the country in the month of April. This is a 27.9 per cent drop from the death toll the previous month when 1,214 people were recorded to have lost their lives.
Improvement was also observed in the rate of kidnapping. Fewer people (343) were reported to have been abducted, causing a 40.8 per cent drop in the figure. In contrast, at least 519 people had been kidnap victims in March.
The number of security personnel killed similarly dropped from 94 to 46 while the number of civilians killed dropped from 477 to 430.
According to local press reports catalogued by the NST, at least 336 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists were killed by state and multinational forces as well as rival terror groups in April — more than triple the figure from the previous month. Eighteen kidnappers, two robbers, and 87 other armed people were also killed.
Some of the greatest civilian casualties were recorded in Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Sokoto, and Yobe.
On Sunday, April 10, several communities across two local government areas in Plateau were attacked. After the incident, a mass burial of 106 residents took place.
“And we are still picking more bodies,” Dayabu Garga, chairman of Kanam, one of the affected areas, told Channels Television.
“Even till today, we are still finding dead bodies on the farmlands. In the hospital we have more than 16 people hospitalised; someone right now has a bullet in the head, maybe they will do an operation either today or tomorrow to remove the bullet … These people require protection, we need to have security outfits, either army or MOPOL [Mobile Police]. We need food items, we have sent some food items but they are not enough.”
An earlier attack in a different part of Plateau by suspected herders left 11 dead and 19 injured. Dozens of people were killed by herders and terrorists in similar incidents in Benue and Southern Kaduna.
In Northeast Nigeria, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has increased the tempo of its attacks following territorial gains last year. Its members have also started targeting more urban areas with recent attacks recorded in places like Kogi and Taraba, hundreds of kilometres away from its base in Borno and the Lake Chad area.
The sudden spread in places attacked may not be unrelated to the Nigerian troops’ intensified offensives in the Sambisa forest area as well as increasing air bombardment.
After a private meeting with service chiefs last month, the leadership of the House of Representatives, one of Nigeria’s two federal lawmaking chambers, assured the security agencies had discussed how to better collaborate with one another as well as matters pertaining to training and remuneration.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has also recently restated his commitment to tackling the country’s many security challenges, adding that he has been losing a lot of sleep over the issue.