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The Security Crisis in the Southeast and the Unknown Gunmen Phenomenon

Who are the killer unknown gunmen in Southeast Nigeria and why is it so difficult to identify them?

For quite some time now, the Southeast geopolitical zone of the country has been embroiled in a security crisis characterized by violence, wanton killings and destruction of properties, attacks on security agencies, and kidnappings. 

Although most Nigerians readily attribute the crisis to the agitation for self-actualization by members of the outlawed Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), the group itself has consistently denied responsibility for much of the crisis in the region. 

No one, including even security agencies, seems to have a handle on who is responsible for the worsening security situation. The security agencies have not categorically blamed the entire crisis on IPOB as it were. 

 It is this uncertainty, therefore, that has created the “unknown gunmen” phenomenon. All we get to hear these days is that unknown gunmen did this one, unknown gunmen did the other one. 

The forthcoming gubernatorial election in Anambra, one of the states in the region, has added a whole new dangerous dimension to the crisis. Over the years, Anambra state has gained notoriety for the pre-election crisis. The general crisis in the region seems to have worsened the Anambra crisis this time around. 

Last week, unknown gunmen again attacked and killed a prominent son of the state, Dr. Chike Akunyili, who was the widower of the late Professor Dora Akunyili. Prof. Akunyili was the former Director-General of NAFDAC and later the Minister of Information. Gunmen killed eight other persons on the same day that Dr. Akunyili was killed. 

The unknown gunmen phenomenon may not be entirely new to the country though. Perhaps it appears new because it has never manifested on a scale as big as the current one and never prevailed for such a long period. 

The late Afrobeat icon, Fela Anikolapo Kuti, sang about the “Unknown Soldier”, following the killing of his mother by state actors dressed in military uniform. 

But how can we have such a phenomenon so widespread in an entire region in the 21st Century, especially when the so-called unknown gunmen have wreaked so much havoc on the land?

Why is unraveling the identities of the mystery gunmen such a Herculean task, given all the resources at the disposal of the security agencies to readily do so? 

These questions become even more pertinent because the full complement of the nation’s security apparatus is operating in the Southeast at the moment. 

Meanwhile, it has become convenient to attribute the crisis in the region to the ubiquitous and nebulous unknown gunmen, while the crimes remain unsolved. 

To find a solution to the crisis, the security agencies must unravel the identities of the unknown gunmen terrorizing the southeast. 

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Content created and supplied by: Ifyafrica (via Opera News )

Nigerians Southeast Southeast Nigeria

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