Government forces, Boko Haram are Nigeria

The extremist Boko Haram sect, and government forces are Nigeria’s “most serious” human rights offenders, United States’ annual Human Rights report for 2011has said.

The report, released by the State Department on Thursday, found that killings and bombings by Boko Haram, and extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary detention by the military, police and the State Security Service presented the greatest threat to the rights of the Nigerian population.

The report particularly noted the increased violence perpetrated by the radical sect, and the high-handed response from the Joint Task Force (JTF) and Security Task Force (STF) in Borno and Plateau states respectively.

“The most serious human rights problems during the year were the abuses committed by the militant sect known as Boko Haram, which was responsible for killings, bombings, and other attacks throughout the country; abuses committed by the security services with impunity, including killings, beatings, arbitrary detention, and destruction of property; and societal violence, including ethnic, regional, and religious violence,” the report presented by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to the U.S. Congress said.

The document found government forces, mostly the police, wanting on almost all indicators of rights protection, and highlights the notorious police checkpoint extortion and brutalization, corruption and extrajudicial killings.

“The JTF and STF committed numerous killings during the year but conducted no investigations,” it said.

On Boko Haram, it listed all the attacks claimed by the group in 2011 including the UN bombing and the Christmas Day attacks.

“Boko Haram committed drive-by shootings and bombings; targeted killings of security personnel, religious leaders, and political figures; coordinated attacks on police stations and banks; and conducted suicide bombings during the year, which resulted in the death of hundreds of persons,” it wrote.

The report did not pay a special attention on Nigeria, although it is believed its position might play a role in the U.S. authorities’ ongoing consideration on whether or not to designate the Boko Haram sect a foreign terrorist group.

Detailed records for other countries have also been released by the department, each covering arbitrary deprivation, disappearances, torture and other inhuman treatment, prison and detention conditions, arrest and trial procedures, freedom of speech and other indices.

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