Most residents in Nigeria’s north western Zamfara State have welcomed a government directive ordering a shutdown of internet and phone communications now in its sixth day designed to combat a spate of banditry and ransom-seeking kidnappings plaguing the region. Last Friday, mobile network providers were directed by Nigeria’s telecom regulator to shut down communications in Zamfara for two weeks “to enable relevant security agencies to carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state,” the Nigeria Communications Commission said in a letter to a telecom firm. The directive came two days after at least 73 students were abducted from a state-run high school in Zamfara’s Maradun district. Military authorities are undertaking targeted raids on the hideouts of kidnappers and other criminal gangs in the state, who are known locally as ‘bandits.’ The phone blackout is one of many measures enforced by authorities in Zamfara to curb banditry and recurring abductions in the state. Last week, Zamfara’s Information Commissioner, Ibrahim Dosara, told CNN schools in the state had been closed down to avoid further attacks by gunmen. Dosara added that vehicular movements had also been restricted across the state.
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