The Zamfara State Killing Field
- Nigeria is currently engulfed in a major crisis of intergroup relations that is rooted in the politics of economic survival but which is often easily exploited by the elite. The latest theatre of such madness is in the Northwest state of Zamfara where towns and villages are attacked, almost on a daily basis, by armed bandits while the vigilante groups brought in by the helpless communities to help restore order are either being exterminated or are themselves engaging in extra judicial killings. With villages being deserted and a growing resort to self-help in the face of what looks like organized crime, there are serious threats to our national economy and security that many Nigerians are not paying adequate attention to. The violence in Zamfara State is particularly difficult for “outsiders” to understand, especially when the people many of us had always assumed to be one and the same are now killing one another. That perhaps explains why most of the reportage of the orgy of bloodletting, essentially between the Hausa and Fulani peoples of Zamfara State, is by the foreign media. But the more I probe into the bloody crisis, the more it reveals the complexities of our country and how simplistic some of the assumptions that drive the political agitations in Abuja are.