How smuggled arms fuel Nigeria’s farmer-herder clashes
A major field study has uncovered that weapons used in inter-communal violence in three states in northern Nigeria originate in countries including Libya, Turkey and Ivory Coast.
Over three years, investigators from the Conflict Armament Research examined hundreds of weapons and ammunition in Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara, where there are frequently clashes between farmers and semi-nomadic herdsmen.
They found weapons manufactured in Turkey and linked to an unnamed trafficking network.
They also discovered assault rifles from Iraq similar to those used by Islamist groups operating in the Sahel.
Some had originally come from state stockpiles across the region.
The similarity in the weapons suggests a common source, but the organisation was keen to stress this did not mean herding communities in Nigeria were linked to terror groups.
Clashes over land have plagued Nigeria’s central and northern states for decades.
In 2018 the International Crisis Group said the conflict had been six times deadlier than the Boko Haram insurgency.