At least 55 iron mongers have been killed by terrorists in Borno state in the last three weeks.
The revelation was made by the Commissioner of Police in the state, Abdu Umar on the side-line of a security stakeholders’ meeting on Saturday in Maiduguri.
The stakeholders comprised the police, the army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Security, among others.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the meeting was to proffer solutions to the incessant attacks on scrap metal collectors in the state.
Umar said the insurgents killed 32 scrap metal collectors at Modu village in Kala-Balge Local Government Area and murdered 23 others at Mukdala village of Dikwa LGA.
He said the victims sneaked into the forests 25km away from the towns without informing the security agencies for scrap metal collection.
Daily Trust reports that dozens of youths looking for a livelihood, especially in northern Borno had been killed by terrorists this year.
The CP said Governor Babagana Zulum directed security agencies to adopt proactive measures to stop the killings to forestall future occurrences of the incident.
The commissioner had also led other security heads and journalists to investigate some impounded trucks loaded with scrap metal at State Mechanic Workshop.
He said there were allegations that the scavengers were involved in vandalizing government and private properties in displaced communities.
“The state government is working to come up with a policy plans to checkmate these activities.
“This is because the government have had bad experience where infrastructure and individual vehicles, especially in liberated communities are being vandalised by scrap metal collectors.
“And it’s surprising that the unions said none of the victims in Kala Balge and Dikwa were their members.
“The government is really concerned about the welfare and safety of every citizens, it set up a committee to check these activities with a view to fashioning out ways to forestall future occurrences,” he said.
Also commenting, Malam Umar Usman, Chairman, Scrap Metal Association in the state, said the victims of the Kala-Balge and Dikwa attacks were not registered members of the association.
He alleged that the victims were internally displaced persons in the affected communities.
According to him, the association is monitoring activities of over 3,000 registered scrap metal collectors across 27 LGAs of the state.
He also refuted the alleged vandalism of critical infrastructure by its members, saying the association liaised with the security agencies and community leaders before transacting on scrap metals.
A public affairs analyst, Mohammed Abubakar Kareto, said Rann axis had been a flash point for ISWAP/Boko Haram insurgents for over a decade now.
“The state government and security forces around the area need to swiftly swing into action and address the problem,” he said.