45 dead in attack by armed bandits in northern Nigeria: civilian militia

Military and police are overstretched in Nigeria, which, along with fighting Boko Haram militants in the north, is battling militants and pirates in the oil-rich south. (AFP)
Updated 06 May 2018

45 dead in attack by armed bandits in northern Nigeria: civilian militia

KANO, Nigeria: 45 people died in an attack by armed bandits in northern Nigeria, civilian militia members said on Sunday, amid growing levels of rural violence often involving cattle theft, robbery and kidnappings for ransom.
“The 45 bodies were found scattered in the bush. The bandits pursued residents who mobilized to defend the village after overpowering them,” said a vigilante who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
“The dead included children abandoned by their parents during the attack.
“The attackers were obviously armed bandits from neighboring Zamfara state who have been terrorizing Birnin Gwari area...,” he added.
The vigilante said the bandits struck Gwaska village in Kaduna state at about 2:30pm (1330 GMT) Saturday and stayed for three hours before retreating to their base in the forest in Zamfara.
“They burnt down many homes,” he said.
A spokesman for the Kaduna state police, Mukhtar Aliyu, confirmed the attack by “armed bandits” but said they were unable to give further details.
The killings follow the death of at least 25 people in separate attacks in northern Nigeria last week.
Thirteen people were killed in prolonged clashes between cattle thieves and local civilian militia in Zamfara.
In Adamawa, in the northeast, meanwhile, at least 12 people were killed in an attack on several villages.
The attacks underlined the diversity of Nigeria’s security threats that persist in the absence of a robust police force and efficient judicial system.
Nigeria is in the grip of a security crisis as nomadic herders and sedentary farmers fight over land in an increasingly bloody battle for resources.
Rural communities in Zamfara have been under siege for several years from cattle rustlers and kidnapping gangs, who have raided herding communities, killing, looting and burning homes.
To defend themselves, villages and herdsmen form vigilante groups, but they too are often accused of extra-judicial killings, provoking a bloody cycle of retaliatory attacks.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been criticized for failing to curb the violence, which is becoming a key election issue ahead of the upcoming presidential polls in 2018.
Military and police are overstretched in Nigeria, which, along with fighting Boko Haram militants in the north, is battling militants and pirates in the oil-rich south, a simmering separatist movement in the east and a bloody battle between herdsmen and farmers spanning the vast central region.


Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

Updated 26 November 2020

Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen broke down on Thursday when visiting a mink farmer who lost his herd following the government’s order this month to cull all 17 million mink in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Frederiksen has faced opposition calls to resign and a vote of no confidence in parliament after an order by the government in early November, which it later admitted was illegal, to cull the country’s entire mink population.
The order was given after authorities found COVID-19 outbreaks at hundreds of mink farms, including a new strain of the virus, suspected of being able to compromise the efficacy of vaccines.
“We have two generations of really skilled mink farmers, father and son, who in a very, very short time have had their life’s work shattered,” Frederiksen told reporters after a meeting with a mink farmer and his son at their farm near Kolding in Western Denmark.
“It has been emotional for them, and... Sorry. It has for me too,” Frederiksen said with a wavering voice, pausing for breath in between words.
The move to cull Denmark’s entire mink population, one of the world’s biggest and highly valued for the quality of its fur, has left the government reeling after it admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling of healthy mink.
After a tumultuous couple of weeks since the order was given on Nov. 4, the Minister of Agriculture, Mogens Jensen, stepped down last week after an internal investigation revealed a flawed political process.
Denmark has proposed a ban on all mink breeding in the country until 2022. Tage Pedersen, head of the Danish mink breeders’ association, said this month the industry, which employs around 6,000 people and exports fur pelts worth $800 million annually, is finished.
Denmark’s opposition says the cull of healthy mink should not have been initiated before compensation plans were in place for the owners and workers at some 1,100 mink farms.