A Nigerian governor has ordered the issuing of licenses so citizens can carry guns to defend themselves against armed groups.
A first among the measures drawn up to defeat gunmen blamed for the deaths of thousands in the West African country’s troubled northern region.
Zamfara state Gov. Bello Matawalle announced Sunday through the state commissioner for information that the directive to issue gun licenses follows the recent escalating attacks, kidnapping, and the criminal levies being enforced on innocent communities.
Armed groups known locally as bandits have targeted remote communities in Nigeria’s northwest and central regions. Kidnappings for ransom took place last year in Zamfara, one of the worst-hit states in the armed violence.
Gun permits for self-defense are very rare in Nigeria, and Zamfara could be the first state to offer mass approvals.
It is not yet clear how arming citizens would help prevent the attacks; authorities have admitted that even the Nigerian police are sometimes overwhelmed during violent attacks.