A special investigative report recently published online has revealed how Turkish has been fuelling the killings by Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria in the northern and central regions using a complex smuggling network.
According to the Daily Telegraph report, the criminal gang has smuggled thousands of weapons to Nigeria. thereby, fuelling one of the region’s deadliest conflicts that has killed about 3,600 people and displaced more than 300,000 since 2014.
The British organisation Conflict Armament Research completed a detailed study of 148 weapons seized by Nigerian security forces.
Finding shows that 10 of the weapons were high-power pump action shotguns brought in on shipping containers by the network that operated between Istanbul and the Nigerian capital of Lagos.
The report said more than 2,500 Turkish shotguns had been brought into the country in shipping containers marked as steel doors and washbasins, and that some had fallen into the hands of criminal gangs and kidnap groups across the country.
“This is a major organised trafficking route involving actors who are based in both Nigeria and Turkey,” the report said.
“Major European shipping companies have unwittingly transferred large-scale weapon shipments orchestrated by these traffickers.”
The research also highlighted the prevalence in criminal networks in Nigeria and around the region of Libyan weapons looted by jihadist groups after the country’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011.
According to the British daily, “weapons smuggled by Turkish criminals are fuelling a deadly herder-farmer conflict in the Sahel.
A criminal gang operating out of Turkey has fuelled one of West Africa’s deadliest conflicts by smuggling in vast amounts of high-powered pump action shotguns, a study by arm control experts has found.
The Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has been firing accusations in several directions over the source of the weapons deployed by the herdsmen.
Three years ago, during one of his visit to London on medical trip, President Buhari told the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby that Libyans are responsible for the weapons and killings going on in the country.
Buhari will later tell another of his audience that the crimes were perpetrated by Chadians and Nigeriens who flock Nigeria through porous borders and were heavily armed.
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