23 February 2018

Nigeria: Boko Haram Killed 411 Civilians in 2017,340 People Died in Military Detentions - Report

Photo: The Guardian
Nigerian army.

Abuja — Amnesty International (AI) decried that human rights crisis in Nigeria have continued unaddressed with the Boko Haram insurgents killing 411 people in at least 65 attacks in 2017, adding that the group also continues to carry out abductions of women, girls and men.

It also lamented that the military arbitrarily arrested and held thousands of young men, women and children in detention centres across the country, stressing that detainees were denied access to lawyers and family members, saying at least 340 died in custody.

The international rights organisation disclosed this in its annual report titled: 'State of the World's Human Rights report for 2017," released in Abuja.

The report, it said, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world, noting that for Nigeria, it covers the armed conflict, unlawful killings, communal violence, enforced disappearances, torture, freedom of assembly and expression, harassment of human rights defenders, forced evictions, women's rights, death penalty, corporate accountability and other issues in the last year.

The report said: "Across Nigeria, human rights violations and abuses take different forms and have led to violence and deaths as a result of the armed conflict in the north east and the inter-communal clashes between herders and farmers in at least 12 states.

"The armed group Boko Haram killed 411 people in at least 65 attacks while the group continues to carry out abductions of women, girls and men. As a result, in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe there are 1.7 million people internally displaced by Boko Haram crisis and thousands are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

"Boko Haram is still committing crimes by carrying out suicide bombings targeted at civilians as well as abduction of women, girls and children. Over a million victims of the crisis are living in camps across and beyond the northeast and they are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

"The military arbitrarily arrested and held thousands of young men, women and children in detention centres around the country. Detainees were denied access to lawyers and family members. At least 340 died in custody.

"In August, a presidential investigation panel was set up to probe allegations of human rights violations carried out by the military. This was followed by mass trial of Boko Haram suspects in Kainji military facility," it said.

The report stressed that States across Nigeria are confronted by spate of inter-communal violence between herdsmen and farmers leading to the death of more than 549 people.

"While the clashes linger, the Nigerian authorities' response to this violence is totally inadequate, too slow and ineffective and in some cases unlawful. The government must totally overturn its response to these deadly clashes to avoid this crisis getting out of control and claiming more lives. They need to investigate and bring suspects to justice."

The report also lamented the disruption of peaceful assemblies and rising intolerance of Nigerian security agencies as they continued to, in many cases violently, disrupt peaceful protests.

"The police continued to deny Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), which was banned by the Kaduna state government in 2016, the right to peaceful assembly. The IMN leader has been in detention for over two years despite a court ruling ordering his immediate release.

"Journalists and bloggers face harassment and intimidation largely from security agencies. On 19 January security personnel raided the offices of Premium Times and arrested Dapo Olorunyomi and Evelyn Okakwu after the Chief of Army Staff accused the newspaper of offensive publications.

"Expressing personal opinion on social media is becoming dangerous. On 19 September, the Katsina State police arrested three bloggers, Jamil Mabai, Bashir Dauda and Umar Faruq, for criticising the Governor. Bashir Dauda and Umar Faruq were released after one week and Jamil Mabai was detained for 22 days."

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