In March 2022, Kaduna State was pelted by a string of audacious attacks on citizens and government-owned enterprises. It was not the first major attack, nor the one with the highest number of casualties. However, the choice of target location and victims created a school of thought that allows us to weigh the attack strategy adopted by bandits who were supposedly illiterates and untrained in the modern art of battle.

Banditry a few years ago was far from what we know today, the Oxford dictionary defines the word to mean “ a robber or outlaw belonging to a gang and typically operating in an isolated or lawless area’. In a post titled banditry, a brief history of a long war’ Anselm Odinkalu, a columnist for The Cable highlighted the common forms of banditry citing armed robbery heists associated with charismatic criminals such as Oyenusi and Anini who had a limited number of accomplices as their followers.

This opinion would stand largely on the form of delinquencies practiced as it were in approximately the first fifty years of Nigeria’s independence and notably under military rule. However, the bandit conflict as we know it today stemmed markedly from the long-running struggle between the Nigerian government and numerous gangs and ethnic militias. The insecurity instigated by the clashes between the Fulani and Hausa ethnic groups prompted the formation of various criminal and Islamist organizations in the Northern region gradually from the year 2011. The menace, with the help of Illegal arms proliferation prevalent in the northwest and the pampering hand tendered by the Federal Government, has seen the exponential growth of bandit attacks in Zamfara in the Northeast, Kaduna, Katsina in the Northwest and Plateau, Niger States in the Northcentral geopolitical zone.

Terrorism on the other hand has peaked in the country for over a decade and remains active and is expanding significantly based on recent occurrences. Despite a general decrease in terror-related deaths, the country recorded the second-highest number of people who died in terrorist attacks worldwide, after Afghanistan as indicated by recent statistics. These figures are attributed to heinous attacks launched in the Northeast states with Borno and Yobe on the top of the list.

The concern this article aims at addressing is the possible impact of the potency that can be achieved if the speculations indicating the synergy between terrorist groups and bandits are a reality. When analyzing the current tactics employed by bandits in recent attacks, which started significantly with a series of bomb explosions first recorded on 27 February 2022 in Kabala West, in Kaduna State. It was glaring, however doubtful, that the assaults were orchestrated through an alliance between bandits and splinter terrorist groups in the Northwest.

The rumours were however confirmed following the armed pastoralists led Kaduna airport attack and significantly the Kaduna-Abuja train attack which expert analysts indicated to be a joint operation involving Boko Haram/Ansaru terrorist group . Considering the impact made by the attack launched by the combined efforts of the armed groups and the weak response of the government in terms of rescuing the victims of the attack and bringing the perpetrators to justice, we can only imagine the level of assaults that may occur in the nearest future if the groups are allowed to grow, and bandits learn the use of more sophisticated weapons, technology, intelligence and other forms of the art of terrorism and adopt these tactics in new attacks.

Terrorist activities in the Northeast have single-handedly crippled business operations in most parts of Borno and Yobe states. Communities in Zamfara, Kaduna and Northwest states with volatile local government areas have equally been greatly dealt with by bandit incursion. Hence the impact of the eventual possibility of terrorist factions and bandits combining forces would be unimaginable as the group will be capable of launching highend assaults, hijacking of aircrafts, assassination of persons of interest and may go as far as trying to form a terrorist caliphate owing to the potency that will be associated with their large number, the territories they control and the sophisticated weapons and intelligence at their disposal.

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