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Peace & Security

Traders beg government to provide more security to stop escalating attacks by robbers

29 January 2024
Reading time: 4 minutes

Informal traders, who buy goods for resale in remote villages of Borno State, say they fear they will be killed in nightmare weekly attacks by robbers

Robbers are making it virtually impossible for informal traders in the more remote areas of Borno State to make a living.

Traders, who buy items to sell to residents in villages in the three local government areas of Gubio, Nganzai and Magumeri, say they are facing escalating attacks by robbers and they fear for their lives.

In the past two to three months, the armed men have stepped up attacks on traders who go to the main markets of the three local government areas to buy goods for resale in and around the villages of Gadai Lawanti, Gadai Bulamari, Yasku and Kubchi.

The traders usually go to the markets every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to buy goods that include food, household items, mobile phones and medicines. Some even buy cattle and other livestock. But recently, on their return to the villages, they have been stopped by groups of armed men who steal their bought goods and sometimes even kidnap the traders for ransom.

A dealer, who asked to remain anonymous, told RNI that he and his fellow traders who worked in the three local government areas were frightened and many of them had stopped going to the markets because they feared being robbed and kidnapped.

“This is stopping us from making a living. It is the only means we have to earn money.

“My village falls under the Gubio Local Government Area. For years I and other informal traders have had to put up with attacks by Boko Haram [the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād – JAS] which, although not as frequent as in the past, still occur.

“And now we also have to deal with another security challenge – robbers. This is something new to us.

“It is common knowledge that we traders go to market every week on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We buy goods that people in the more remote villages need, such as food, mobile phones and other items.

“In the past two to three months, attacks by armed men, who are not insurgents, have become more frequent. The robbers steal our bought items and, if we try to put up a fight or try to stop them, they tell us they will kill us.

“Some of the traders have not only been robbed but also kidnapped for a ransom. The armed men do not release them until the ransom is paid.

“These robbers are frightening us. We are afraid to go to the markets because we know there is a good chance that we will encounter the robbers on our return. This is affecting our livelihoods. How are we supposed to support our families? Buying and selling is the only way we can make money.”

A man, who identified himself only as Adam, said he was one of the drivers who took the traders to and from the markets.

“The route has become a nightmare. Armed robbers attack us frequently. If anyone tries to escape, the robbers shoot at them.

“First it was Boko Haram that we feared because they attackd us and restricted our movement on the roads. But attacks by insurgents have lessened. Mostly, in the recent past, we have been able to travel freely and conduct our business safely, thanks to more stringent security measures.

“But now we have to contend with robbers. We are appealing to the government to send security personnel to the roads where these robbers operate. They need to be stopped. Attacks are occurring almost every week. The robbers need to be stopped before the attacks escalate even further. The attacks are scaring both drivers and traders and they are affecting our business.”



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