Nigerian Army accused of ‘serious’ human rights abuses

JTF in the Niger Delta
JTF in the Niger Delta

Nov.1 (PREMIUM TIMES) “We are in the middle of two things. If you take a look at your right or you take a look at your left, both of them they are deadly. It is a lose lose situation.”

Nigerian security forces have carried out serious human rights abuses in their campaign against the terrorist Boko Haram sect, Amnesty International says.

The rights group, in a report released Thursday, said Nigerian security forces have extrajudicially executed, detained without trial or charge and forced the disappearance of hundreds of people accused of links to the Boko Haram sect.

Since July 2009, the Boko Haram Islamic sect have carried out increasingly deadly terror attacks across Northern Nigeria and the capital city, Abuja. Their targets are mainly churches, government establishment, media houses and security agents. The group claimed responsibility for the August 2010 bombing of the United Nation’s headquarters in Abuja.

A rough estimate of the deaths resulting from the group’s attacks is put at over 1500. But the amnesty International said the cycle of attacks and counter attacks has been marked by unlawful violence on both the government and the terrorist group’s side, leading to a devastating human rights abuses on the people trapped in the middle.

The rights group blamed the Nigerian government of failing to adequately prevent or investigate attacks or to bring perpetrators to justice. It also accused the government of neglecting victims.

“People are living in a climate of fear and insecurity, vulnerable to attack from Boko Haram and facing human rights violations at the hands of the very state security forces which should be protecting them,” the group’s secretary general, Salil Shetty said.

Reports of people being shot dead by the army or beaten to death in detention were particularly common in Borno and Yobe states, Amnesty said.

“We are in the middle of two things. If you take a look at your right or you take a look at your left, both of them they are deadly. It is a lose lose situation,” a civil engineer, aged 32 from Maiduguri, whose brother was killed by security forces in June 2012 told Amnesty.

In response, the spokesperson of the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, in Maiduguri, Col Sagir Musa said he could not comment on the issues raised in the report.

He told PREMIUM TIMES he had received the report minutes before we called and can only comment after perusing it.

The Nigerian army spokesman Col SK Usman told the BBC that soldiers were professional and properly trained.

“There is no Nigerian soldier that goes out on the streets to just kill innocent Nigerians,” he said.

“So whatever we do we always make sure it is done within the ambit of the law.”

Amnesty said the report presents its research gathered during five visits to Kano and Borno states and Abuja, the Federal Capital City between February and July 2012. the report also included research gathered during numerous to Nigeria, including to Borno and Bauchi states and FCT, between 2010 and 2011.

The rights groups calls on Nigeria’s government to clarify the truth about incidents linked to Boko Haram, establish accountability for abuses and bring those responsible to justice.

It also calls on Boko haram to cease all activities that result in human rights abuses.


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