By Rasheed Sobowale
Herdsmen attacking farmers in Kaduna state, Katsina state, and Zamfara state were reportedly supplied weapons from Côte d’Ivoire, Libya and Turkey.
An independent investigative organisation, Conflict Armament Research (CAR) reported this in its newly published case study assessing the weapons used in herdsmen-farmers clashes in Nigeria.
CAR report revealed that no lesser than 7,000 weapons have been retrieved by ‘amnesties’ partnering with governments to remove weapons through arms collection programmes.
Most of these weapons were locally made while there were considerable numbers of factory-produced military weapons also recovered.
Some of the weapons were reported to contain small-denomination banknotes carefully placed inside the foregrips.
Although the carriers believe it is a charm, observation revealed it helps reduce the rattle of the foregrip components of the weapons notably the AK-patterned ones.
Supplies from Cote d’Ivore
According to CAR, there was a prevalence of Chinese Type 56-2 7.62 × 39 mm assault rifles among armed groups and communities in Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic (as far east as Obo, which lies close to the South Sudanese border), Ghana, Mali, and Niger.
“Weapons in Nigeria match a particular type of Chinese-made assault rifle that are likely to have originated in Ivorian state stockpiles.
“The Chinese government has confirmed to the United Nations that it lawfully exported rifles within this range to Côte d’Ivoire prior to 2004. It is therefore likely that other rifles within this range also originated in Ivorian state stockpiles,” the report noted.
Supplies from Libya
“Following the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, CAR has repeatedly encountered weapons across West Africa and the Middle East that either certainly, or very probably, came from Libyan government stockpiles.
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“Three weapons that CAR documented in Nigeria are of a distinctive type of Polish-made KbK-AKMS assault rifle, manufactured between 1975 and 1978 with Arabic rear-sight markings.
“Although detailed records no longer exist, the Polish government has stated that it supplied weapons of this specification to only four countries—Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen—all during the 1970s. CAR has documented weapons of the same specification in Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Niger, as well as in Libya itself.”
Supplies from Turkey
“Armed groups in Nigeria have used Turkish-manufactured semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns matching types that have been trafficked into the country in shipping containers.
“Bulk trafficking by sea from Turkey is an unexpected source of illicit weapons in Nigeria. During 2017, Nigerian customs authorities seized four illicit shipments of more than 2,000 pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns manufactured in Turkey.
“The seizures included several hundred JOJEFF-branded weapons, with 2017 manufacture dates.
“The weapons had been concealed within four containers shipped by sea to the port of Lagos. Subsequent investigations by Nigerian and Turkish law enforcement agencies have indicated that the shippers falsely declared the contents as consumer goods, ranging from washbasins to medical items.
“CAR’s own investigations show that this is a major organised trafficking route involving actors who are based in both Nigeria and Turkey.”
The herdsmen-farmers clashes in Nigeria have resulted in more than 3,600 people’s death with at least 300,000 people displaced.
The report indicated that the death toll surpassed that of Jihadists attack (Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa), making it the deadliest ever in the western Sahel,