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Nigerian Army Rejects Amnesty’s War Crimes Report

Controversy abounds amid Amnesty’s latest report published on June 3, 2015, concerning the behavior of the Nigerian military. Reports state that thousands have been killed and many more affected by the abusive acts of the Nigerian military. These statements have been rejected by Nigerian military officials and spokesperson Chris Olukolade.

According to The Guardian, Amnesty has released a 133-page report titled “Nigeria: Stars on their shoulders. Blood on their hands: War crimes committed by the Nigerian military” detailing the actions of senior Nigerian military during security operations in Boko Haram. The report claims that at least 7,000 people were murdered through starvation, suffocation, torture, and inhumane conditions. Stating that Nigerian forces “committed countless acts of torture; hundreds, if not thousands, of Nigerians have become victims of enforced disappearance; and at least 7,000 people have died in military detention as a result of starvation, extreme overcrowding and denial of medical assistance”. Amnesty’s report also claims that since February 2012, over 1,200 people have been randomly executed.

The Amnesty International report pushed for investigations into five top ranking military officers, two chiefs of army staff, and two chiefs of defense staff, The Telegraph reported. Amnesty based the report on interviews with more than 400 individuals, including Nigerian officials and prisoners. It was also reported that Men and boys were arrested by the thousands after attacks.

The newly elected president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, stated that these accusations would be addressed, as part of his inauguration speech. He stated that the rules of military engagement would be reviewed in an attempt to address worries of abuse by the Nigerian military. The Nigerian military rejected the allegations, expressing concerns that the report is “biased and concocted”.

In the course of security operations against Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria, Nigerian military forces have extra judicially executed more than 1,200 people; they have arbitrarily arrested at least 20,000 people, mostly young men and boys

The report by Amnesty includes not only hundreds of interviews, but military sources as well. A preliminary investigation was opened concerning the Boko Haram fray, claims having been made by Amnesty that since 2009, 17,000 people have been killed. Salil Shetty, Amnesty’s secretary general, called the attacks “sickening” and underlines that, “the responsibility of Nigeria’s leadership to act decisively to end the pervasive culture of impunity within the armed forces.” Defense spokesperson Chris Olukolade was quoted by the Daily Mail as having said in a statement that the “Nigerian military does not encourage or condone abuse of human rights neither will any proven case be left unpunished.”

In other Boko Haram coverage here at Immortal News, ISIS and the Nigeria-based Islamic militant group that is Boko Haram have reportedly become allies.

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