The North Western states of Nigeria are under threat of fresh insurgency different from Boko Haram jihadists ravaging North Eastern states of the federation, several local and international security reviews have revealed.
Zamfara state is particularly fingered out as the likely base of the new insurgent criminal group whose full identity is still shrouded in mystery.
In the last five years, several coordinated attacks have been launched on the state, claiming close to a thousand lives and leading to destruction of properties worthy several millions of naira.
Security sources hinted that the level of coordination and efficiency of operation of the attackers showed that they are not simply cattle rustlers many think they are.
The group is believed to be highly armed with modern sophisticated weapons while others posited that they appear to have a command structure much like a fledgling insurgency.
“The actors may be transnational or not but the threat is potent. The border is fluid and transnational activities are real. The Zamfara situation eye entire North West. This is how it all started in Borno state”, a security source noted.
A counter terrorism expert, Hon Alou Ibrahim has even openly raised alarm on the development in a series of tweets, warning that Zamfara may be the next base of an emerging insurgency in the North West.
“Horizon scanners with well grounded early warning system have been pointing to Zamfara as the next frontier where organized criminal franchise will marry into terrorism and eventually morph into an insurgency. They were ignored since 2013.
“We have an amazing tendency to underestimate threats in this country. Those charged with designing our threat analysis matrix as a component of our NSS, need to be more in tune and synch with traditional horizon scanners and local community early warning systems.
“These marauding killers in #Zamfara seem to be working with a very well articulated SOP, ConOps and strategic regimentation to be anything other than a well organized force waging an insurgency on the state. They must be treated as such.
“It is too late for a surgical operation in #Zamfara. The succession chain may be too long. What is needed is a deployment of SOFs, boots on the ground, fire from the sky and let the fight be taken to the killers in the forests.
“I will repeat: what is happening in #Zamfara is not banditry. It never was. We have another full blown organized crime induced insurgency in our hands. The sooner we accept this fact the sooner the Nigerian Military will put a stop to this madness”,he noted.
Another commentator on Twitter noted as follows,”I’ve seen gunmen on motorbikes raid an entire 1km road in the heart of Gusau, for several hours, breaking shops and making away with valuables.
“In fact, armed men once carted away 200 bags of rice from a warehouse in broad daylight. Very symptomatic of an insurgency group”