News / Africa

Amnesty: Nigerian Security Making Insurgency Worse

Confiscated weapons are displayed after a military raid on a hideout of suspected Islamist Boko Haram members in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, August 11, 2012.
Confiscated weapons are displayed after a military raid on a hideout of suspected Islamist Boko Haram members in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, August 11, 2012.
Heather Murdock
— Amnesty International says actions taken by Nigeria's security forces to combat Islamist militant group Boko Haram are exacerbating the insurgency.
 
In a new report released Thursday, the London-based rights group says security forces have committed rights violations, including arbitrary detentions, torture and extra-judicial killings. 
 
The group says that, combined with atrocities carried out by Boko Haram, actions of the security forces create a cycle of violence and an "increasing climate of fear" in the country.
 
“We found that the very grave human rights abuses by the armed group Boko Haram are being met with serious human rights violations by security forces in their response to Boko Haram," said Lucy Freeman, Amnesty International's deputy director for Africa. "[This] has had a devastating impact on the human rights for the people who are caught in the middle.”
 
Freeman says security forces have responded to Boko Haram attacks by jailing hundreds of suspects without trials or access to lawyers or family members, sometimes leaving them chained nearly 24 hours a day.
 
Reports of the razing of private homes, she adds, indicate security forces have punished entire neighborhoods in retaliation for attacks led by militants.
 
"People were too afraid to even go to make a complaint," said Freeman, adding that her organization is calling for a witness-protection program to encourage civilians to come forward to report abuses by both Boko Haram and security forces. "If they went to try and see a loved one in detention, or if they went to collect the body of their relative, they were at times threatened or otherwise intimidated by the security forces.”
 
Amnesty's secretary general Salil Shetty has called upon high-level officials to protect the country's population from Boko Haram by acting within the rule of law, insisting the government must "counter terror with justice" by publicly denouncing the violence.
 
Constant danger
 
But Amnesty's report also notes that security forces on the front lines are in constant danger and many have been killed. At the heart of the cycle of violence, the research indicates, are political and economic problems that security forces can't solve.
 
According to private security officer Abba Buba, residents of Maiduguri, capital of northeastern Borno state and Boko Haram's original home base, are literally caught in the crossfire between security forces and militants, forcing them to turn to crime.
 
“He used to go to people to beg for money and now he comes to invest in his small business, [but] later they came and burned the same thing," he said of the impossible circumstances many civilians face. "So what are you telling that person? Are you not asking them to go into crime?”

According to The Associated Press, Nigerian officials dumped dozens of corpses in front of a hospital after soldiers opened fire on civilians. Frame grab from TV footage shot by Nigeria's television authority shows people lying down (condition unknown) on a street in Maiduguri, Oct. 8, 2012.According to The Associated Press, Nigerian officials dumped dozens of corpses in front of a hospital after soldiers opened fire on civilians. Frame grab from TV footage shot by Nigeria's television authority shows people lying down (condition unknown) on a street in Maiduguri, Oct. 8, 2012.
x
According to The Associated Press, Nigerian officials dumped dozens of corpses in front of a hospital after soldiers opened fire on civilians. Frame grab from TV footage shot by Nigeria's television authority shows people lying down (condition unknown) on a street in Maiduguri, Oct. 8, 2012.
According to The Associated Press, Nigerian officials dumped dozens of corpses in front of a hospital after soldiers opened fire on civilians. Frame grab from TV footage shot by Nigeria's television authority shows people lying down (condition unknown) on a street in Maiduguri, Oct. 8, 2012.
Officials deny allegations
 
The Associated Press has reported that on October 8, Maiduguri-based security forces, enraged at being repeatedly targeted in guerrilla attacks by the extremist Islamist sect, allegedly fired upon civilians, killing 30.
 
Nigeria's Joint Task Force (JTF) denies the report, which also says soldiers burned shops and houses in revenge for a bomb attack. In a statement at the time, the JTF said there was "no recorded case of extra-judicial killings, torture, arson and arbitrary arrests by the JTF in Borno state."
 
A spokesperson for JTF team dubbed Operation Restore Order (ORO), was not immediately available for comment, but has previously denied human rights violations, saying any ORO members caught committing abuses is punished, and that security forces do not engage in unlawful killings, arson, torture or arbitrary arrests.
 
According to Amnesty, national security authorities have agreed to investigate the findings of their report.
 
An elusive enemy
 
Much about Boko Haram remains unclear, but the militants are believed to want to impose a strict form of Islamic law across northern Nigeria. The group is blamed for killing more than 1,000 people in northern and central Nigeria since 2010 in a series of attacks on schools, churches, newspaper offices, government buildings, and most frequently, security forces.
 
New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a report last month that also accused Nigerian security forces of engaging in abuses while battling Boko Haram.
 
- Abdulkareem Haruna contributed from Maiduguri.

Related video report by Selah Hennessy:

 
Amnesty: Nigerian Army 'Abuses' in Battle with Militant Islamistsi
|| 0:00:00
X
November 01, 2012 9:50 PM
Rights group Amnesty International says Nigerian security forces are committing human rights abuses as they attempt to squash the militant Islamist group known as Boko Haram. A spokesperson for the Nigerian army has rejected Amnesty's accusations of abuse, saying soldiers always operate within the law. Selah Hennessy reports from London.

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 02, 2012 9:37 AM
There's no point reading and making contributions in US media that is grossly biased, demonized and hateful. It's time one moved to the east, after all china's cctv and qatar's aljazeera are also looking for sincere opinions of concerned readers. Even Iran's Press tv too. What really does one get from listening so much to VOA that cannot produce a fresh program for a new day? This morning the African news caster simply slotted in yesterday's recorded news and insulted listeners with repeat of yesterday's news. AND NO ONE TOOK NOTICE OF IT just because everyone out there was busy looking for avenue to cover up for Obama's misguided campaign. Even worse still is that the newscaster only pronounces half of the word and tasks listeners to make up the remainder - something nauseating. Shame to all of you out there at VOA for failing to represent THE TRUTH.


by: Richard Ouko from: Nairobi
November 02, 2012 1:57 AM
My, My My, I looked at those assortment of crude weapons and i just smelled destruction and death. The government must act with resolve. Borrow a leaf from KDF and Al Shaabab

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid