mobile strike teams and via air strikes.
He said he was also heartened to see the
army taking claims of abuse or human
rights violations seriously, and in some
cases, issuing court-martials to those
suspected of crimes.
Perhaps most signiﬁcantly, the Multina-
tional Joint Task Force has made gains.
The 10,000-person force is headquar-
tered in N’Djamena, Chad, with regional
bases in the four countries surrounding
Lake Chad. In addition to the affected
nations of Chad, Niger, Nigeria and
Cameroon, Benin also contributes
troops to the effort.
“It’s not perfect, but the level of coop-
eration, actually, between the four coun-
tries, whether in the framework of
MNJTF or whether actually outside —
there are also some bilateral links that
are working, and it is actually quite
remarkable,” Foucher said.
Suicide attacks and raids persist, with
civilians in hard-to-reach rural areas and
outlying towns at risk.
On January 30th, Boko Haram jihadists
killed at least ﬁve loggers in Ajeri village,
near the town of Dikwa, some 90km (55
miles) east of Maiduguri. Loggers have
been increasingly targeted in Borno state.
On January 31st, two female suicide
bombers blew themselves up at Man-
darari village, near the Borno town of
Konduga, 36km southeast of Maidu-
guri. The blasts happened shortly after
another bomber killed four and injured
44 at a displaced persons’ camp in
Dalori, 22km away on the same road
to Maiduguri. A fourth bomber also
blew herself up outside the camp.
Boko Haram ﬁghters stormed Alau-
Kofa village, some 12km from Maidu-
guri on February 4th killing two people.
One witness said the jihadists “speciﬁ-
cally came to steal our cattle” but were
forced to abandon the herds when
Peace Eludes Farmers and Herders
Nigeria’s army on February 7th said it
would send troops into the country’s volatile
central states to quell violence between
farmers and herders that has killed hundreds
in recent weeks.
Major General David Ahmadu said the
deployment from February 15th would
crack down on “herdsmen/farmers clashes
and attacks on innocent members of our
communities, particularly in Benue, Taraba
and Nasarawa state by armed militias”.
The operation will also target “armed ban-
ditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling” in
Kaduna and Niger, plus other crimes in
Kogi, he added.
Ahmadu, who is the army’s head of training
and operations, said criminal activities had
“continued unabated in these states despite
the efforts by sister security agencies to curb
Ahmadu said operations would include
“raids, cordon and search operations, anti-
kidnapping drills, road blocks, check points
and show of force as well as humanitarian
Amnesty International said the previous week
that 168 people had been killed in communal
violence between herders and farmers in
2018 alone, with about a hundred in Benue
state. It warned the violence was “spiralling”
out of control.
President Buhari in early February rejected
claims a government proposal to create
cattle ranches to contain herds was an
attempt to “colonise” any part of Nigeria.
The central region has become the scene of
almost daily clashes between settled farmers
such as the ethnic Christian Tiv and herders,
who are mainly Fulani and Muslim.
In Benue the crisis has morphed into a ethnic
and religious crisis, with more and more Tiv
openly expressing hatred towards the Fulani,
whom they accuse of launching raids from
neighbouring states and looting their crops.
Nomadic cattle herders have all but left,
driven away by ﬁghting over access to
resources and a new law banning migratory
“Our people largely depend on farming. We
don’t have industries here. If you take
agriculture away from our people it means
you’re taking up their lives,” Benue’s gover-
nor Samuel Ortom, an ethnic Tiv behind the
controversial ban on open grazing, told
“We tried every other option, dialogue,
meetings, but the killings continued,” he
added. “This law will provide peace, it is a
win-win for both herdsmen and farmers.”
To see herders and their livestock, you have
to go to the neighbouring state of Nasarawa,
where livestock markets are teeming with
activity. The herders say armed Christian
militias are attacking their cattle, arguing
that the law has only emboldened them.
Political opponents of President Buhari have
seized on the issue because of his perceived
inaction towards the violence – and his own
ethnicity. Like the herders, Buhari is an
ethnic Fulani from the mainly Muslim
north, while the farming communities are
in the largely Christian south. The police
have also been accused of not doing enough
to end the violence.
On February 6th, Buhari visited Laﬁa, the
state capital of Nasarawa, and said his
government was “working day and night to
ensure peace and stability returns”.
“We have deployed additional resources to
all the affected areas to maintain law and
order. The attacks by suspected herdsmen
and other bandits will not be tolerated,” he
Three people were shot dead on February
8th by unknown gunmen in Anyiin, in the
Logo area of Benue state, police said on the
9th, with suspicion falling on cattle herders.
Given the location and similarity to previous
attacks, suspicion locally immediately fell on
A police ofﬁcer was killed and mutilated in
an attack on the 10th blamed on herdsmen.
The ofﬁcers were ambushed in the Logo area
of Benue state. Benue police commissioner
Fatai Owoseni told reporters that one man
had been arrested in connection with the
ambush and that an assault riﬂe was recov-
ered from the scene. Herders were also
suspected the previous week when three
people were shot dead and four others
injured in the same area. (© AFP 9,13,14/2
Following an emergency meeting on Febru-
ary 13th, the Coalition of Northern Groups
(CNG) called on President Buhari to declare
a state of emergency in Taraba, Kaduna,
Benue and Zamfara States. It also demanded
the suspension of political structures and the
appointment of administrators to run the
states’ affairs until security is restored.
Meanwhile, the committee set up by the
National Executive Council to ﬁnd a solu-
tion to clashes between farmers and herds-
men revealed that herdsmen were willing to
abide by the Benue State anti-open grazing
law, according to head of the committee and
Ebony State governor, David Umahi. (The
Guardian, Lagos 14/2)
Bandits Kill Dozens
Police say gunmen shot dead at least 18
people in Birani village, in the Zurmi area of
Zamfara state, where previous bloody
clashes have been blamed on cattle rustlers
and kidnapping gangs. Some local media
reports on February 16th put the death toll
as high as 40.
State police spokesman Muhammad Shehu
said the bandits were mobilised by cattle
rustlers who had been prevented from steal-
An increase in criminality has been blamed
on the government crackdown on cattle
rustling, forcing those responsible into kid-
napping for ransom. Security personnel
believe the gangs are moving between con-
necting forest in the northern and north-
western states of Kaduna, Katsina, Kano,
Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Niger.
President Buhari directed security agencies
to “immediately mobilise” and “ensure that
the perpetrators are brought to face the full
wrath of the law.” (Associated Press 16/2; ©
AFP 16/2 2018) Carnage in central state
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
February 1st–28th 2018 Africa Research Bulletin – 21767