Nigerian state tells residents to take up arms against kidnap gangs

Nigerian authorities in the north-western state of Zamfara are calling on locals to arm themselves against criminal gangs, in an attempt to deal with the increasing numbers of kidnappings and violent attacks.

Residents there must register before getting a weapon, and the state authorities say steps are being taken to guide people through this process.

Asking citizens to arm themselves against violent threats is always going to be controversial. But the state government believes that arming civilians will help deal with rising levels of insecurity in the area.

In other measures, the governor of Zamfara has also ordered the closure of markets in three districts, banned the use of motorcycles and sales of petroleum products.

A shoot-to-kill order has been given to anyone found using a motorcycle in these areas.

Nigeria is struggling to curb a deadly wave of kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs in the northern part of the country.

The gangs often target unprotected rural communities, schools and motorists on highways.

source: bbc

Ray Charles Marfo

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