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Nigeria is suffering from a devastating criminal insurgency in its northwestern states. Thousands of militants, known colloquially as bandits, have taken over swathes of the countryside, using military-grade weaponry to rustle cattle, terrorise communities, stage mass kidnappings for ransom, and overrun security forces. The conflict is liable to have immense long-term impacts on the socioeconomic development of the northwest due to both the humanitarian crisis it has engendered and its second-order effects such as the high number of children who are presently out of school for fear of kidnappings.

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