The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, says the conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria are becoming more sophisticated and deadlier.
Chambas, who is Head, UN Office for West African and the Sahel (UNOWAS), in a report presented to the UN Security Council, said the violence was a major security threat in the region, warning that it risks changing into terrorist attacks.
“Violence between farmers and herders is increasingly a major security threat in the region and risks morphing into the terrorist attacks that have defined the security landscape.
“Farmer-herder conflicts are becoming more sophisticated and deadlier, especially in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.
“During four days in June, new spates of attacks and retribution killings between herders and farmers in this region resulted in scores of deaths,” the UN envoy said.
In the Lake Chad Basin, Chambas said in spite of gains made by the Nigerian armed forces and the Multinational Joint Task Force, Boko Haram remained active.
He added: “The trend of Boko Haram, using female suicide bombers continues, and reportedly almost one in five suicide bombers is a child.
“The most recent attacks on a Nigerian military garrison in Yobe and the ambush of a military convoy in Borno are the latest manifestations of the threats still posed by Boko Haram.
“There is a need for increased support to diplomatic, security and humanitarian responses to Boko Haram, in a holistic manner.
“To this end, UNOWAS is providing technical support for a joint summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), on July 30, as called for by Security Council resolution 2349 (2017).
“Let me stress that any military response to security challenges in the region needs to be matched by the implementation of comprehensive strategies linking security and humanitarian interventions to development and human rights initiatives.
“There is also need to increase our collective efforts to address the challenges facing the Sahel region with actions that combine politics, security and development,” Chambas stressed.