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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid