In Summary
  • Ahmad's comments on Tuesday came as police and the security forces crack down on armed gangs involved in cattle rustling and kidnapping for ransom.
  • He said arming the 8,500-strong civilian militia was "one of the best ways" of fighting the gangs besieging the state.
  • National security is a major concern for President Muhammadu Buhari and his government, with threats ranging from Boko Haram Islamists in the northeast to militants in the oil-rich south.

KANO,

A traditional ruler in northern Nigeria has called for civilian militia members to be given assault rifles to defend themselves against armed gangs behind a spike in kidnappings and attacks.

"The only power these bandits have over us is that they have AK-47 rifles while we have nothing apart from the cudgels we sometimes bear in self-defence," said Anka Attahiru Ahmad.

PUMP ACTION

"If the government can provide the vigilante force with AK-47 rifles, they should as well be given pump action guns and the official licence to possess and operate the weapons", said the chairman of the Zamfara state traditional council of chiefs.

Mr Ahmad's comments on Tuesday came as police and the security forces crack down on armed gangs involved in cattle rustling and kidnapping for ransom.

Last week, the police said they had killed 104 gang members who had been "terrorising and killing innocent people" in an operation on their forest hideouts.

Fifty camps were destroyed and officers recovered more than 500 cattle and 79 sheep. Sixteen police were also killed in the fighting.

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