News / Africa

Amnesty International: 1,500 Nigerians Killed in Boko Haram Violence in 2014

FILE - A Nigerian policeman stands guard by burned out cars and houses, following an attack by suspected Islamic extremists in Kawuri, Maiduguri, Nigeria.
FILE - A Nigerian policeman stands guard by burned out cars and houses, following an attack by suspected Islamic extremists in Kawuri, Maiduguri, Nigeria.
Heather Murdock
Amnesty International said 1,500 people have been killed this year in an escalating armed conflict between Boko Haram insurgents and Nigerian security forces.  Amnesty said more than half the victims were civilians.

Amnesty International calls the rising number of Boko Haram attacks “truly shocking” and the reaction of Nigerian security forces “brutality.”
 
The rights group said both sides may have committed acts that “may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity." It called for an investigation by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the U.N. Human Rights Council.
 
Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group based in northeastern Nigeria, has been attacking government forces, churches, schools, markets and mosques since it began violent operations in 2009.
 
Three northeastern states have been under emergency rule for nearly 11 months, but Elizabeth Donnelly of the Africa Program at the London-based policy institute Chatham House said the attacks continue to get worse.
 
“It has got more violent and it is such a range of targets from communities to schools and such softer targets to actually really prominent military targets,” said Donnelly.
 
Rights groups have repeatedly accused Nigerian security forces of responding to the violence with extra-judicial killings and holding suspects in inhumane prison conditions for long periods of time without charge or trial.
 
The Nigerian military denies these accusations and said no military in the word has devised a perfect plan to combat terrorists.
 
Donnelly said the military also faces a constantly changing and growing insurgency that is difficult to combat because it has no clear leadership structure, funding sources or focus.
 
“Beyond that there are lots of what you describe as peripheral elements to the organization that may well shift and change. Interests, motivations shift and change,” said Donnelly.
 
Boko Haram has said it wants to impose its harsh version of Islamic law and ban all Western education.  But its tactics and real motivations appear to be constantly changing, said Donnelly.
 
“It is adapting, and adaptation means change. This is a group in flux, but I think it is a group that will always remain in flux.  And I think that is quite key in terms of policy responses, knowing that,” she said.
 
Last week, Abubakar Shekau, the man who claims to lead the group, released a video taking credit for a recent attack on a military base and detention center.
 
Amnesty International said it has “credible evidence” 600 people were killed after Boko Haram attacked Giwa barracks, and that most of the victims were detainees killed by soldiers.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid