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MAIDUGURI, (Nigeria): Nigeria’s Zamfara state will start issuing licences to individuals to carry guns to defend themselves against armed gangs of kidnappers causing havoc in the country’s northwest, the state’s commissioner for information said on Sunday.

Armed gangs are rife across Nigeria’s northwest where they rob or kidnap for ransom, and violence has been increasing, where thinly stretched security forces often fail to stop the attacks.

The gunmen, known locally as bandits, operate from remote forests in the northwest and their deadly attacks and kidnappings, targeting villagers, farmers and travellers.

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