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Amnesty International Rebukes Nigerian Military for Dropping War Crimes Inquiry

FILE - Nigerian soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag that they had seized in the retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, March 18, 2015.

Amnesty International criticized Nigeria's military Thursday for dropping an investigation into senior officers accused of war crimes in the northeast during the conflict with Islamist Boko Haram insurgents.

The eight-year battle with the militant group, which seeks to carve out a "caliphate" in the northeast, has been rife with human rights violations by the parties involved, including the military, Boko Haram and vigilante organizations, aid groups say.

Those include extrajudicial killings, rape, the use of child soldiers and detentions of people without charge.

Late Wednesday, a Nigerian military panel issued a report on the findings of its investigation that said there was insufficient evidence to charge the officers, some of whom are now retired, for any abuses.

The military killed, starved, suffocated and tortured 8,000 people under the watch of certain senior officers, Amnesty International said in its 2015 report alleging the war crimes.

"We stand by the findings of our research and our call for an investigation that is independent, impartial and thorough," Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said Thursday.

The military panel did find that delays of trials of suspected Boko Haram members that resulted in death or denial of legal representation were unacceptable.

Both the panel and Amnesty International recommended that Nigeria set up a presidential commission to investigate any accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.