An overwhelming majority of attacks on infrastructural installations since 2009 by non-state actors occurred in the country’s north, according to an analysis by SBM Intelligence, a geopolitical research consultancy.
In a report released on Monday, the firm identified 25 attacks on infrastructures in the country between May 2019 and March 2022 across the country.
According to the report, 19 of the attacks occurred in the country’s north, while in the country’s south, non-state actors attacked infrastructures six times.
Attacks in the north
Of the six geopolitical zones in the country, the North-west is the most violent in terms of the frequency of attacks on infrastructure installations.
There were eight attacks on infrastructures in the region in the period under review. Seven such attacks occurred in Kaduna State.
The Northeast has the second-highest amount of attacks with seven attacks on infrastructure in the period under review.
Of the two regions, Borno State, where all the attacks in the North-east region took place and Kaduna State, where seven of the eight attacks in the North-west took place, are the most violent states.
The number of attacks on infrastructures in both regions and indeed states is not surprising as they have witnessed the highest frequency of attacks by insurgents in the country with the people.
In the North-east, the Islamist group, Boko Haram, has waged a violent insurgency against the country since July 2009, killing several thousands of people and at least 3 million inhabitants of the region have been displaced. The United Nations described it as one of the worst humanitarian disasters in Africa.
In the North-west, gunmen, locally called bandits, have carried out waves of bloody attacks on residents of rural communities, killing thousands, and displacing tens of thousands of others.
The gunmen force some residents to pay protection levies to avoid being attacked or before they may work on their farms. They also abduct rural dwellers and travellers who they release after the payment of ransoms. Reprisal killings have exacerbated these attacks by vigilante groups.
Apart from a recent escalation in the age-long communal clashes in the state’s south between Fulani herders and farmers from other ethnic groups, Kaduna State especially has seen an uptick of attacks by bandits recently.
Trains and power stations were the primary infrastructures that came under attack in both regions. In Borno, power stations came under attack six times within the period.
While in Kaduna, assailants targeted trains. They attacked trains five times within the period under review.
Last month gunmen attacked a Kaduna-bound train, after using explosives to blow up the rail tracks, forcing the train to stop. Nine people died in the attack, several others sustained injuries and the gunmen abducted an unknown number of people.
There were only three attacks on infrastructures in the North-central region. In September 2020, hoodlums attacked a train in Bwari, a community on the outskirts of the country’s capital, Abuja.
In October 2021, some hoodlums in Offa, Kwara State, set fire to a north-bound train. The Federal Fire Service said it rescued 13 coaches from the fire. Similarly, a month later, hoodlums attacked a truck carrying 778 mental rail sleepers in Mokwa, Niger State.
Attacks in the south
In the South-south, non-state actors attacked infrastructures five times within the period under review. Oil pipelines suffered the most attack during the period. A factory in Edo and a train came under attack in Ovigbo in River State.
There were only two attacks on infrastructure in the South-west within the period under review. They are the February 2022 attack on a rail line in Ogun and an attack on the Dangote refinery at Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, in March by hoodlums.
There were zero attacks on infrastructures in the South-east region within the period under review.
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