Authorities in Nigeria’s Kaduna state are raising concerns jihadist insurgents have infiltrated their region and are calling on the federal government to intervene.
State governor Nasir El-Rufai made the announcement during a quarterly security assessment.
During the meeting, El-Rufai said Ansaru and Boko Haram fighters have been detected in two local government areas and said the terror groups have been making attempts to recruit residents of those areas.
Authorities also said more than 360 people, including 45 females, were killed in the state between January and March by armed groups. They said more than 1,300 people were kidnapped.
“The first great concern is the emergency of Boko Haram enclave as well as the activities of Ansaru, particularly in Birnin Gwari and Chikun local governments,” El-Rufai said. “The terrorists were making comments like the forests in Kaduna are even better that the ones on Sambisa and so they should all relocate here.”
The Sambisa forest in Borno state has been a hideout for Boko Haram fighters for years.
Kaduna state near Nigeria’s capital has seen a wave of attacks in recent months including a March 28 train attack, during which nine people were killed and more than 60 others kidnapped.
El-Rufai said the attack was masterminded by terrorists now roving parts of the state.
Authorities also said they’re considering relocating three communities — Rijana, Kateri and Akilibu — over concerns that they may be harboring informants working for gangs.
Security analyst Patrick Agbambu says the success of Nigeria’s military operations in the northeast where Boko Haram has been active for over a decade is the reason terrorists are spreading to other regions.
“There’s a shifting of activities of the terrorist acts towards the northwest and north-central. Terrorist groups want to use places they can make statements, places where it will attract attention,” Agbambu said. “Security agencies and Nigeria must be very careful in those areas.”
Nigerian defense authorities this week said more than 53,000 Boko Haram members and their families have surrendered to the military so far this year.
Also, this week, Nigerian police announced they had arrested 31 kidnappers and criminals who took part in a school kidnapping last year.