Amnesty says Nigerian military killing prisoners

2015-06-03 18:26

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Abuja - More than 8 000 people have died while being held prisoner by Nigeria's armed forces in the campaign against Islamist group Boko Haram, many of them deliberately killed, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

In a 133-page report, the group said more than 1 200 people had been extrajudicially executed since March 2011 and over 7 000 had died in a military detention due to starvation, overcrowding, torture and denial of medical assistance.

A spokesperson for Nigeria's armed forces was not available for comment. A presidential spokesman who spoke to Reuters by phone had no immediate response to the report.

Boko Haram has carried out a six-year insurgency during which it has tried to establish an Islamic caliphate in the northeast of Africa's biggest economy and top oil exporter, killing thousands and leaving 1.5 million people displaced.

Muhammadu Buhari, the new president, has vowed to defeat Boko Haram, calling the group "mindless" and "godless", and was holding talks on Wednesday with his counterparts in Niger and Chad on how best to tackle the insurgency.

The militants controlled a swathe of territory around the size of Belgium at the start of the year but have lost most of it in recent months due to the combined efforts of troops from Nigeria and neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Amnesty International said many of the people executed by the armed forces had been shot dead inside detention facilities, despite presenting no danger, in violation of international humanitarian laws.

In his inauguration speech last week, Buhari said allegations of human rights abuses, which have dogged the armed forces in the last few years, would be addressed.

"We shall improve operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human rights violations by the armed forces," he said.

Amnesty said Nigerian troops had rounded up thousands of men and boys, some as young as nine, in Boko Haram strongholds. Many of those held were executed or died in custody if their families were unable to pay a bribe.

Lack of food caused many to starve, and severe overcrowding led to the spread of diseases.

"These acts, committed in the context of a non-international armed conflict, constitute war crimes," said Amnesty, adding that senior military commanders should be investigated for possible crimes against humanity.

"Evidence shows that senior military leaders knew, or should have known, about the nature and scale of the crimes being committed," it said.

Amnesty said its report was based on about 400 interviews with sources including victims, eyewitnesses and members of the armed forces, as well as videos and photographs.

Read more on:    amnesty international  |  muhammadu buhari  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  human rights

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.