Authorities in Nigeria’s Zamfara state said they will begin granting gun licenses to residents. The rare move will allow individuals to carry guns so that they can defend themselves against gunmen and rebels in the troubled West African country’s northern region.
Armed gangs that rob and kidnap for ransom are common in the area.
Gunmen recently killed eight people and kidnapped nearly 40 in two churches in Kaduna.
Nigeria’s security forces are stretched thin with the violent attacks and a ten-year war against Islamist rebels.
Ibrahim Dosara, the Zamfara information commissioner, said in a statement that 500 licenses will be distributed to people “who qualify and are wishing to obtain such guns to defend themselves.”
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.