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Amnesty International accuses military of human rights abuses

At least 10,000 civilians have died in Nigerian military custody since 2011, a report by Amnesty International (AI) indicates.

The civilians were being detained in connection with the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in northeast region.

According to Amnesty International many of the deaths were recorded at the “infamous Giwa Barracks” in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state.

“In April 2017 alone, 166 corpses were transferred from Giwa to the mortuary,” the report said.

“Severe overcrowding, scarce food and water, extreme heat, infestation by parasites and insects, and lack of access to adequate sanitation and health care are among the litany of violations at Giwa,” the report states.

The report titled “Nigeria: My heart is in pain – Older people’s experience of conflict displacement and detention in Northeast Nigeria”, dated December 8, 2020, accuses the military of human rights abuses in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria.

It also notes that Boko Haram and Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) are also involved in human rights abuses. The two groups have been trying to impose Islamic administration in parts of Nigeria.

The violence in Northeast Nigeria is now in its second decade.

The report says older people’s perspectives and human rights have been largely ignored, despite the distinct and often disproportionate risks they face, whether in their villages, in military detention, or in displacement.

It estimated that up to 25 percent of the deaths in military custody were older men.

The report said that the response to the Northeast Nigeria crisis has been undermined by the lack of inclusion of older people in data collection.

The military, however, described the report as unfortunate and said the research did not meet the universal standards of global best practice.

A statement released on December 10, 2020 in Abuja by Maj-Gen John Enenche, the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, said there were instances of contradictions in the report.

Enenche faulted the report that claimed that that old people were being killed by the Armed Forces when they raid Boko Haram controlled villages.

“The report is a deliberate attempt to discredit the military in the fight against insurgency and terrorism which should be resisted,” he said.


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