Nigeria military seizes over 500 guns from civilians

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The Nigerian military says it has seized more than 500 illegal guns over the last two years in the central state of Plateau.

The 517 weapons, including AK-47s, pistols and locally made guns, were handed over by a military commander at a ceremony in Jos, the state capital, on Thursday.

They had been seized from criminals, including armed robbers and gangs kidnapping people for ransom, a military spokesman told the Leakblast.com

Some were seized in parts of neighbouring Bauchi and Kaduna state. A number of people were also arrested.

Some estimates indicate there were around 6.5 million small arms and light weapons in circulation in Nigeria last year – about 90% in the hands of non-state actors.

This makes armed conflicts more difficult to tackle in the country, analysts say.

But the authorities say they are now trying to clampdown on their proliferation.

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Nigeria is struggling to tackle various forms of armed violence, including a deadly jihadist insurgency in the north-east and the sophisticated criminal kidnapping networks who operate across large swathes of the country.

Plateau state in particular has experienced frequent communal conflicts in the past two decades as well as gang violence resulting in thousands of deaths and the massive displacement of people.

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