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How Nigerian security officials paid $50,000 to buy back an anti-aircraft gun from bandits

An exclusive reports indicates how intelligence officers within the Nigerian security apparatus bought off an anti-aircraft weapons by bandits to avoid the equipment’s being used on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari who was visiting his home state of Katsina at the time.

The story reads, “the masked men emerged from the forest on motorbikes, surrounding a young intelligence officer clutching a cash-filled bag. The ransom, nearly $50,000 in crisp Nigerian bank notes, wasn’t for a person, but to retrieve a weapon that directly threatened the country’s president.

According to the The Wall Street Journal, A kidnapping gang encamped in Nigeria’s Rugu forest had seized an antiaircraft gun in a clash with a military unit. That posed a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari, who had been planning to fly to his hometown about 80 miles away, and the government needed to buy it back.

An hour later, the officer, who declined to be identified, was clasping hands with a leader of a diffuse network of criminals whose campaign of kidnapping civilians—including hundreds of schoolchildren—has raised millions of dollars to build an arsenal of heavy weaponry they are using to wrest control of swaths of the north, including the president’s home state.

Over tea, the militant leader agreed to part with the truck-mounted 12.7 caliber antiaircraft gun in exchange for the ransom: His men had plenty more munitions, he said.

“I don’t need the army’s weapons,” he said, according to the officer, whose account was corroborated by another senior Nigerian official involved in the previously undisclosed mission.

“I don’t need the army’s weapons,” he said, according to the officer, whose account was corroborated by another senior Nigerian official involved in the previously undisclosed mission.

The article explained, In the forests of northwest Nigeria, loosely organized criminal gangs that raised funds kidnapping schoolchildren are now flush with arms and operating beyond the reach of an increasingly fragile state.

In some instances, government officials in Africa’s most populous nation have been paying the gangs to return stolen weapons and kidnapped personnel, according to confidential documents and interviews with senior military officials, soldiers and independent mediators, and one of the gang leaders.

“If they don’t pay, we kill them,” said Shehu Rekeb, a militant leader in Zamfara state, in a phone interview. His men were herdsmen, he said, who had been mistreated by the state and subjected to arbitrary arrests. Once armed with machetes, they now have weapons on par with the military and collaborators inside the army, he claimed.

The World Street Journal, is an American business-focused, English-language international daily newspaper based in New York City, with international editions also available in Chinese and Japanese.

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