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Insecurity: Families Give Their Daughters To Bandits As Brides For Protection

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Insecurity: Families Give Their Daughters To Bandits As Brides For Protection

Rise in banditry has led to a dramatic increase in sexual and gender-based violence, which was already high due to prevailing cultural norms, in the Northwest says a report by the Centre for Democracy Development (CDD).

The report which is, titled ‘Northwest Nigeria’s Bandit Problem: Explaining the conflict drivers’ obtained by The ICIR also noted that there are around 100 bandits groups constituting between 10,000 and 30,000 militants operating in the region.

It highlighted the historical factors and root drivers of conflict, the identities, motivations, and modus operandi of the bandits, and the role of additional conflict actors such as anti-bandit vigilantes and the federal security forces.

The report also entailed the roles of traditional rulers and institutions, the relationship between bandits and jihadists, the gender dimensions of insecurity in the northwest and the inadequacy of current government efforts to address the conflict.

On the gender dimension of the conflict, the report noted that the rise of banditry has led to a dramatic increase in sexual and gender-based violence, which was already high due to prevailing cultural norms, adding that bandits in the Northwest frequently rape women and capture “war brides” in their raids.

“The conflict has exacerbated the commodification of women, as some families give their daughters (many of whom are still children) to bandits as brides in return for protection.

“Children are also victims of the conflict, both in terms of direct violence and because many become orphans or are forced out of school,” the report noted.

Although women and children have been victims of banditry, they are not entirely passive actors in the conflict.

“Children have joined the bandits as well as Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) and Yan Sakai in large numbers, often against their will. In one bandit outfit, the youngest fighter was nine years old. Some women also work with the bandits, serving as informants, wives, and camp attendants, or, in rarer cases, fighters,” the report read in part.

The report further read that women have also smuggled food and weapons for bandits and will conduct reconnaissance and infiltrate communities disguised as traders or beggars ahead of attacks.

It added that women have also lured victims to their kidnapping; although some are coerced, others do it for financial gains.

“Beyond banditry, some women are involved in criminality in the northwest on their initiative. One of the biggest drug dealers in Sokoto state is a woman known by the name of Mama Jazina,” the report noted.

100 bandit groups, 30,000 militants operating in Northwest
As the highpoint of banditry in Nigeria, the report found that at least 100 bandit groups are operating in the northwest, constituting between 10,000 and 30,000 militants.

Although the bandits are predominantly Fulani, they also include Hausa, Kanuri, and Tuareg, who engage in illegal activity, are adaptable, and wield sophisticated weapons, possibly more than the Nigerian security agencies.

“Some bandits command more than 1,000 fighters, though such groups tend to be loosely organised, granting significant autonomy to sub-commanders, often colloquially called lieutenants.

One former bandit noted that in some groups, lieutenants may even seek their commanders’ permission to form their group once they get enough weapons and fighters. If the commander believes his lieutenant “has demonstrated his courage” then the commander may give his blessing for them to form their own group,” the report stated.

Source:- Icirnigeria

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