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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid