Weapons used in Nigeria killings also used by Al Qaeda in Mali
Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:
A study by a London-based research group has revealed that arms used in the farmers/herders conflict in North-west Nigeria come from the same source as those used by the terror group, Al Qaeda, in Mali and other Sahel countries.
The report, Nigeria’s Herder-Farmer Conflict, conducted by Conflict Armament Research (CAR), focuses its primary findings on Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna States in Nigeria.
Mike Lewis, author of the report and head of investigative arms research for CAR, told Radio France International (RFI) on Wednesday that researchers found the weapons amongst herders to be the same as those used in an attack by an Al Qaeda-aligned group in Mopti, central Mali.
The report also said sophisticated arms are also being smuggled from Turkey into Nigeria.
Mr Lewis said the study tracked weapons such as manufactured shotguns made in 2014 and smuggled by sea through the port of Lagos as well.
“Attackers in different countries are actually using weapons, not just of the same type, but almost certainly from the same batch and that is passed through the same people.
“And what that tells you is that there are very specific sources of illicit weapons that are providing the tools of violence for armed groups and also terrorist groups right across the Sahel,” Mr Lewis said.
“There were assault rifles, for example, that had had their markings scraped off in exactly the same way, and probably with the same tool, and yet we’re finding them literally hundreds or even thousands of kilometres apart,” he added.
According to the report, CAR researchers traced the origins of the weapons across borders in the Sahel, including from military weapons stockpiles in Côte d’Ivoire and from Libya.
The report also revealed a large number of hand-made firearms in the region, where there was a 35:1 ratio between artisanal weapons and factory-made ones.
”State governments in northern and central Nigeria are trying to capture the illicit small weapons, but the issue of the region awash in small arms remains.
“We also need to get serious about securing the region’s borders, and targeting these kinds of trafficking networks that are moving weapons into the conflict,” Mr Lewis said.
Source: Premium Times NG