“The killings and other abuses by Boko Haram appear to rise to the level of crimes against humanity”.
The Boko Haram terrorist sect in Nigeria have killed at least 2,053 civilians in an estimated 95 attacks during the first half of 2014, Human Rights Watch, HRW, said on Monday.
In a statement by Corinne Dufka, the West Africa Director at Human Rights Watch, the group noted that the killings and other abuses were part of widespread attacks on civilians.
It said the figures were based on detailed analysis of media reports as well as field investigations.
“These attacks are in over 70 towns and villages in north eastern Nigeria, in the federal capital, Abuja, and elsewhere that are apparent crimes against humanity,” it said.
According to the group, there has been a dramatic increase in 2014 in the numbers of casualties from bomb blasts, including several apparent suicide bombings.
“Since January, at least 432 people have been reported killed in 14 blasts in crowded marketplaces, a brothel, a technical college, and, on two occasions, places where people were watching soccer matches.
“Three of these attacks were in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital; two in Kano; two in Jos, the Plateau state capital; and three in
Abuja, the federal capital.
“The Abuja attacks may demonstrate a southward trend of Boko Haram operations, Human Rights Watch said.
“Boko Haram is effectively waging war on the people of northeastern Nigeria at a staggering human cost,” the Rights group said.
It said the atrocities committed, as part of a widespread attack on civilians, are crimes against humanity for which those responsible need to be held to account.
“The bulk of the attacks and casualties credibly reported and investigated by Human Rights Watch took place in Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, where 1,446 people died.
“Attacks killed 151 in Adamawa state and 143 civilians in Yobe state.
“The killings and other abuses by Boko Haram appear to rise to the level of crimes against humanity.”