News / Africa

Amnesty International: ‘Gruesome’ Videos Show Human Rights Abuses in Nigeria

FILE - Military officers walk past scene of explosion in Kaduna, northern Nigeria.
FILE - Military officers walk past scene of explosion in Kaduna, northern Nigeria.
Heather Murdock

Amnesty International says it has found “gruesome” videos that it calls “graphic evidence of multiple war crimes being carried out in Nigeria.” The group also reports that Nigeria’s northern conflict continues to escalate, with more than 4,000 deaths this year alone.

Amnesty International accuses all sides of the conflict of human rights abuses, including Boko Haram, Nigerian security forces, and government-allied civilian vigilante groups.

Videos appear to show soldiers and vigilantes slitting the throats of detainees and dumping them into mass graves, the group says. Other videos show what appears to be the aftermath of a Boko Haram attack that destroyed a village and killed 100 people.

Makmid Kamara, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher, said more protection is needed.

“We are saying that security measures should be taken in lots of ways. But we are seeing an increasing lack of protection, a failure of the Nigerian government to provide adequate protection, especially [for] people who live in remote towns and villages in the affected states,” said Kamara.

The group says in July, the town of Damboa was the first town to “fall officially” to Boko Haram since Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states more than a year ago, saying Boko Haram was threatening national sovereignty. The Nigerian military says none of the country is being ruled by Boko Haram.

Military spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade in Abuja said measures are being taken.

"The Nigerian military will not concede any portion of this country to terrorists or any such group.  We are farming out our deployments in the entire general area.  Our patrols are also active and extending all their activities to reverse every form of insecurity that is noted around there," said Olukolade.

Boko Haram says it wants to impose Islamic law on Nigeria but regularly attacks Muslim clerics, mosques and children. Amnesty International and other rights groups have condemned Boko Haram, and also accused Nigerian security forces of extra-judicial killings and of long detentions without charges or trials in inhumane conditions.

The Nigerian government has previously denied human rights abuses, saying some critics are undermining anti-terrorism efforts. Amnesty International says previous calls for investigations into military abuses have largely been ignored and it worries that the state of emergency could “give way to a state of lawlessness.”

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