The Niger Delta peace and security landscape underwent significant changes in 2020. Diverse conflict risk factors contributed to the changing conflict and security dynamics during the period. These conflict risk factors included historical tensions and a proliferation of armed groups (militant, criminal, and ethno-sectarian). This report examines the trends and patterns of conflict risk and violence, and identifies key interrelated drivers and pressures on peace and stability at the regional, state and local levels.
Data sources include ACLED (www.acleddata.com), Nigeria Watch (www.nigeriawatch.org), CIEPD (https://ciepdcwc.crowdmap.com), IPDU SMS early warning system, and others. According to data (www.p4p-nigerdelta.org), there was an increase in conflict risk and violence and a decrease in reported fatalities in 2020, compared to 2019. Organized criminality, gang violence, communal conflict, human rights violation, and mob justice were the primary causes of lethal violence in the Niger Delta during the year. There was an increase in communal conflict and violent protests, and a decrease in criminality and gang violence during the period. The most prevalent conflict and security issues in 2020 included kidnapping, robbery, piracy, clashes between rival cult gangs, herder/farmer clashes, land/boundary disputes, counter-insurgency operations, extra-judicial killings, mob violence, ethno-nationalist agitations, killing for ritualistic purposes, human trafficking, sexual violence, political tensions, and violent protests. Gang violence, militancy/counter-insurgency operations, criminality, communal conflict, and mob violence were the most lethal forms of violence in 2020, as measured by fatalities per incident.
According to data (see second graph on page 4), on average, every incident of gang violence and militancy/counter-insurgency operation resulted in at least two fatalities. This was followed by criminality with an average of 1.6 fatalities per incident. Overall, the most reported incidents of violence related to criminality (including piracy, kidnapping, robbery, and killing for ritualistic purposes), with 341 fatalities in 219 incidents.
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