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:

 

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More