In our series of letters from African journalists, Mannir Dan Ali, former editor-in-chief of Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper, considers the impact of the latest tactic to tackle Nigeria’s ruthless kidnapping gangs – cutting off access to mobile phones and the internet.
For the last few years life in rural areas of north-western Zamfara state has been agonisingly brutish.
Gun-toting motorbike gangs have made the state of approximately 15,352 sq miles (39,761 sq km) – an area bigger than countries like Burundi, Lesotho and Rwanda – a haven for wanton killing, rape and kidnapping for ransom.
The gang members are devious and well organised, often wearing military fatigues to confuse villagers as they come under attack.
This problem, which has festered for years, has now spread to at least five neighbouring…