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tv   France 24  LINKTV  January 12, 2022 5:30am-6:01am PST

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>> hello again. u.s. and russian diplomats have wrapped up the first meetings in a week of diplomacy and petty escalating tensions on ukraine's border. russia's deputy foreign minister called the discussions complex. rosalyn jordan has more on how american negotiators reacted. >> wendy sherman's assessment was that the meetings monday, about eight hours worth of talks with serge -- and his delegation, were useful. they were frank, straightforward
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, again, wendy sherman's language, but she said this was not a negotiation. this was really an attempt for the u.s. and russia to take the measure of each other's concerns. since the meeting last summer between presidents vladimir putin and joe biden. >> russia's president claims victory in neighboring kazakhstan for what he because a foreign backed uprising. more than 160 people were killed during last week's protests. the u.s. and european union have opposed new sanctions on nicaraguan officials after elections that have been described as rigged. it comes as the same day president daniel ortega is set to be sworn in for a fourth term. tennis star novak djokovic says he is now focused on playing the australian open after winning a court battle to stay in the country. he tweeted a picture of himself back on the tennis court and said he was grateful the judge overturned his removal.
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the immigration minister could still intervene with a decision expected tuesday. in a first for medical science, doctors in the u.s. have transplanted a pig's heart into a patient to save his life. the heart had undergone gene editing, was used to reduce the risk of the patient's body rejecting the organ. scientists say tracking the use of animal organs could perch around the shortage of human body parts available for transplant. next is inside story. ♪ ♪ >> what is behind the rise in so-called banded attacks in
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northern nigeria? gunmen kill at least 200 people, reportedly in retaliation for government airstrikes. can anything stop the cycle of violence? this is inside story. ♪ >> hello and welcome to the program. armed groups have terrorized people in central and northwestern nigeria for years. the so-called bandits burned down villages, steel cattle and kidnap people for ransom. attacks are on the rise and the government appears to be struggling to stop them. at least 200 people were killed last tuesday. witnesses say gunmen on motorbikes attacked eight villages. the assault appears to be retaliation for military airstrikes a day earlier on the banded's hideouts in nearby
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forests. security forces rescue nearly 100 hostages. the police chief says the operation involved airstrikes. in the west, 30 students were freed after seven months. it is unclear whether ransoms were paid. the violence is rooted in a conflict for land and water between nomadic cattle herders and farmers. criminal gangs have become more involved in the past few years. they have extorted millions of dollars for kidnappings. some security analysts call it the most lucrative industry in nigeria. the president has labeled the gangs terrorist organizations. this allows the military to deploy more force. the government can seek international support to fight the armed groups. ♪ >> let's bring our guests. former director of nigeria's state security service.
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in london, senior analyst at the tony blair institute for global change. in coventry, independent researcher focusing on war and conflict in nigeria. a warm welcome to you all and thanks for joining us. let me start with you. where these attacks by armed bandits a response to airstrikes carried out last week? >> that is what the military says. nigeria's president calls it a desperate attack. this is the line from the government whenever we see attacks like this. these were desperate people who were under serious military attack. they marched into five different villages and operated for 48 hours. i think if they were desperate, they would be throwing out their weapons and hiding themselves, not marching into villages and killing 200 people.
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we know that the killing of 200 people is a big number. but, statistics show that at least 50 people are killed in that part of nigeria every week. this has been the case over the past 12-15 months. last year, 10,005 hundred nigerians were killed, over 50% were killed in the northwest. 4500 nigerians were kidnapped. some have been released after they had paid ransom. others have been killed, others are still in custody. even colleagues of the 30 students you said who were released yesterday, 18 students, 15 girls, three boys, are still in custody and have been in custody for seven months now. i do not think it is a desperate attack. it is not a metallic -- it is a
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retaliatory attack because they were not attacked by villagers, they were attacked by the military. and so, if there were attacks on villages and these horrific attacks in -- or desperate. >> the term bandit is used often to describe these armed groups and their members. i am wondering if that term is too simple, if that term belies how sophisticated these criminal gangs are, how powerful they have become. i wonder if you could dissect for our audience who exactly are these bandits. who makes up these groups and how did they emerge? >> the issue in the northwest -- [indiscernible] recall them bandits because they are involved in criminality's. [indiscernible]
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objection, raping of women -- abduction, raping of women, and the government had to take steps by -- [indiscernible] to signify them as terrorists, because that is what they are. they are terrorizing the people, economic activities have grind to a halt. people are no longer safe. they no longer move freely. i think it is -- the right direction. [indiscernible] having done that, i think the government is not -- you will recall, it is not easy to deploy -- because of the -- [indiscernible] because of the cell of arms to nigeria because of alleged human rights abuse.
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now they have been designated as terrorists, they will be treated as terrorists. [indiscernible] -- and flush them out. i think that is responsible for the recent attacks. it is rudimentary because they are being -- [indiscernible] >> you heard mike talk about the fact that it was just last week that the government has designated, efficiently, these bandits as terrorists. the government says this will enable them to go after these groups in a more efficient manner, to go after the groups and their sympathizers. do you think that is the case? do you think that designation of
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these groups as terrorists will actually improve the situation? >> i think calling them terrorists is something that is belated. from day one, these guys were terrorists. the government should not have waited this long to call them what they are. they have always been terrorists. let me add to what my colleague just said about them. what we need to understand about this group of criminals is that we need to understand that they are -- criminals. they are bandits who are political criminals. political criminals in the sense
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that many of them have nothing really to do with -- crisis. they were thugs that were used by politicians, and now are being dumped, being used as -- this has been confirmed by even the governor of the state, who is presently helpless and is saying that yes, there are strong politicians using them. one of the criminals, he is causing a lot of mayhem in the state. but he cannot be arrested. he is responsible for the killings of over 200 people. but, he can't be arrested. this is one set of criminals. another set of criminals is a group of the --.
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these are people that originally had problems with the farmers. you can understand that that is part of the problem that started from the clash between farmers and --. because there was no government intervention at the beginning, that continues to where we are at today. and then there is also a movement of criminals in the northeast who originally were boko haram terrorists. they moved on from the -- down to the northwest because the government strategy of dealing with the terrorists was not properly failsafe. failsafe in the sense that whereas when you are fighting criminals, you have to deal with them in such a way that when you disperse them, -- i mean, when
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you fight them, you do not let them disperse. >> sorry to interrupt, let me get back to you in just a moment on that point. i do have a question. first, you heard him talk about the historical roots of the conflict we are seeing play out in northwestern nigeria. this violence seems to be rooted in conflict for land and water between nomadic cattle herders and farmers. i want to ask you more about that, if you could walk our viewers through a bit of the history of this conflict and if you think it is going go -- only going to be worsening. >> the conflict originally started as a farmer crisis of cattle rustling. that is because there was this competition over land resources in the northwestern part of nigeria, but also across the country. i remember growing up in the northeast, they have always seen this conflict rearing their
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heads whenever it is rainy season when you have farmers and herders fighting. in the course of time, the criminals inserted themselves into the feud and they took over almost the whole crisis, especially in the last 10 years or so. what we saw was this growing business of kidnapping for ransom. and as you said, it is the most lucrative industry in nigeria today, it is the biggest business given the profit. of course, there was infiltration by boko haram, but that was maybe just a little portion of what we are talking about. what we are talking about in the northwest today, a group of an estimated 30,000 criminals divided into over 100 camps. what they do is kidnap people, burn down villages. i completely agree that -- is long overdue.
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they should have been designated long ago. even now that they have been designated -- except that the government treats them like terrorists, declaring them terrorists won't just solve the problem. they will have to be fought like terrorists are being fought in other parts of nigeria. >> are these bandits, these armed groups, in any way linked to boko haram, or has boko haram infiltrated them? >> [indiscernible] in addition to the original -- within the northwest, especially -- for instance, they do not have more support and they are not our colleagues because of the ransom being paid by
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victims. it hurts them -- more money to -- [indiscernible] >> so there is a possibility that those are there to increase the strength of the -- but with this new -- terrorists, i think the government will fish them out. >> you were speaking a moment to go different criminal elements and how the government is combating them. i want to ask you a little bit about boko haram. in combating boko haram and going after boko haram, has the government essentially dropped the ball when it comes to going after other criminal gangs or other bandits in different parts of the country? >> i do not think so much has
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been done particularly in the case of this criminal in the northwest. particularly if you look at what is happening right now in the state. like i mentioned, i mentioned the case of --, who was a criminal, like my colleague has mentioned. we have a lot of criminals there. the most lucrative business today in nigeria is kidnapping for ransom. you can imagine people -- negotiating with criminals every day. criminals asking for millions to release human beings. the government is watching. in -- alone, the -- on villagers. people who have not got money. somebody will have to go out and
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look for money in the city to pay criminals. the government is watching that. what i am saying is the government calling them terrorists will not change anything unless they change their strategy of hunting these criminals. the military can't just go bomb them from the air, and without really putting down ground soldiers to make sure -- you have to -- and stop them from getting out. because what is -- >> go ahead. >> what is happening is that when you bomb the place and you let them get out, you are endangering the villagers more because you are letting them come back and attacked the villages. and then you call that desperate ? no. that shouldn't be happening. >> let me ask you to pick up on a point, it has been reported that in recent weeks, the
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nigerian military has increased airstrikes on forest hideouts in parts. is there any evidence they have been effective? >> it is true that the nigerian military has increased, or escalated airstrikes. but we also know that these criminals have, over the years, mustered the art of debating. the military has been air striking boko haram for over six years. in fact, eight years. but boko haram is still wreaking havoc in the northeastern part of nigeria. in the northwest, we have military airstrikes. in the first quarter of last year, in --, the nigerian military airstrikes for three months. the government say that in three months it did their strikes, they killed only 67 criminals. 67 of 30,000. we know they are masters of
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evading airstrikes and the military will come rain bombs, then leave the area, only for them to get out of the jumbles and attack nigerians. the fact that the military would -- airstrikes, we are talking about where over 200 people were killed, you know that is ineffective. you've got to get on the ground and air operation, but also there is need for better cooperation between nigeria and the general public. we know that when there are -- major military onslaughts, the criminals have found a way of fleeing nigeria, only for them to return to nigeria after the military has finished wasting its resources. it is not effective, and it is clear it has not been effective. >> mike, from your vantage point as the former director of
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nigeria's state security service, let me ask you, do you believe the scope of the military operations, as they are playing out, are too narrow? and in order for them to be effective, they really need to widen out and cover more territory? especially for territory where these bandits and armed groups may be hiding? >> i think -- because first of all having been designated terrorists, we have to change -- approach to these bandits. like i said earlier, [indiscernible] their exact locations will be spotted. on their way out -- because that is the problem. the question has been, where --
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attack and retreat? it becomes very difficult for you to carry out any attack on them. with this new offensive -- [indiscernible] the fear is that they will take it against the civilian populace. but this war is a war that -- the government's initiative and there -- [indiscernible] >> how do these various types of attacks and kidnappings that have been going on, how have they impacted schools and students in different communities. how have these attacks impacted trade routes as well? >> like we know from the days of boko haram, schools have been targets. we know schools have been attacked in the past and we know
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how much schools presently are being attacked. students kidnapped. as we speak now, there are students of a baptist school that have been in captivity for probably three months, four months. there were schools that are just like kindergarten that were taken away and they were in captivity for more than three months. nobody could pay the ransom to get them out. they were there for several months. some died there. as we speak, there are students from -- i can't remember the name -- that were kidnapped and they were there. they are still there as we speak. it is a major problem. when you send your children to school, you get worried, what is going to happen to them?
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they get killed or kidnapped. a number of students of the universities, on their way to university or on their way to -- school dreams. they get sullied by these criminals. a number of times, bombs go off and they get killed. and so, we remember the -- story what happened when the kids boko haram was kidnapped. what i find very difficult to understand is why these criminals are doing this, attacking schools. but when you look at it, boko haram really succeeded for a number of years. boko haram was trying to inscribe its name on the wall. it couldn't succeed even after bombing the u.n. building. but then it succeeded easily by getting into --
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by attacking schools and making schools and students victims, i think they can easily draw international attention. so, it is easy to understand. in terms of trade, economics, it has not been as affected significantly. businesses have been crippled, particularly the farmers most of the time will have to pay taxes imposed on them. when they are unable to pay taxes, it means the whole of the crops that -- have invested get wasted. that means there no crops for the next season to be sold and a lot of money is wasted. and then -- completely because when you are on the way, you try to travel, you end up in the
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hands of massive people. >> i am sorry to interrupt, we are starting to run out of time. my last question to you, i want to talk for a moment about survivors of these attacks. the most recent attack and previous attacks as well. do we know how many people have been left homeless? are they able to receive the necessary help and aid they need? just how traumatized are these populations by what they have been through. >> the population is highly traumatized. we are talking about children who have spent months at the hands of horrific criminals. some girls raped in the name of forced marriage. when they return back to the communities, there is hardly any social support or mental support that is given to them. also know that in just one example, there are about 700,000
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displaced people. there is no -- to shelter them. no food, no medication. so people are just sleeping on the roadside. in motor garages, in places human beings shouldn't be sleeping, especially in winter. so, you have that. over 500 schools are right now shut down. not primary or secondary school has opened. the same thing is the case across other northwestern state's were schools have been shut down it. nigerian children, especially northern nigerian children are left behind when other children across the world are getting educated. >> sorry to interrupt, but we have run out of time. we are going to have to leave the conversation there. thank you to my guests. and thank you too for watching. you can see the program any time
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by visiting our website. for further discussion, go to our facebook page. you can also join the conversation on twitter. from me and the whole team here, goodbye for now. ♪?o?■mm oggcccccg'
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nakul mahendro: it never made sense to me that, like, you walk into this restaurant, everything is super formal, and then you go and you sit down and you're, like, oh, i'll have the 10.99 buffet. okay. 109 buffe, you know. so we were just like, you know, let's just scrap everything. let's start fresh. like, what do we want our restaurant to look like? arjun mahendro: we want to change the peeption of indian culture in america. so how do we push this needle forward and how do we grow? nakul: we're going to serve, like, the most bomb traditional

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