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Amnesty International: Videos Show Human Rights Abuses in Nigeria

Nigerian soldiers patrol the area, near the scene of an explosion in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

Nigerian soldiers patrol the area, near the scene of an explosion in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

Amnesty International says the conflict in northern Nigeria continues to worsen. The rights group says more than 4,000 people have died in the conflict in this year alone. The group has found videos that it claims provide graphic evidence of multiple war crimes being carried out in Nigeria.

Amnesty International accuses all sides in the conflict of human rights abuses. It places blame on Boko Haram militants, Nigerian security forces and civilian groups allied with the government.

Amnesty says the videos appear to show soldiers and gunmen cutting the throats of detainees and burying large numbers of bodies together. Other videos show what appears to be the wreckage of a village attacked by Boko Haram forces. One hundred people reportedly were killed in that attack.

Makmid Kamara is Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher. He says more protection is needed.

“We are seeing an increasing lack of protection, a failure by the Nigerian government to protect automatically people, especially people in the remote towns and villages in the affected states.”

Amnesty says Boko Haram supporters took control of the town of Damboa last month. It says Damboa was the first town to “fall officially” since President Goodluck Jonathan declared emergency rule in three northeastern states last year. However, Nigerian military officials say none of the country is under Boko Haram’s control.

Military spokesman Chris Olukolade says measures are being taken.

“The Nigerian military will not concede any portion of this country to terrorists or any such group. We are farming out our deployments in the entire general area.”

Boko Haram says it wants to establish Islamic rule in Nigeria. But its supporters often attack Muslim clergymen, religious centers and children. Amnesty International and other rights groups have condemned Boko Haram. They also accused Nigerian security forces of carrying out targeted killings without legal justification. And they say the security forces have detained suspects for long periods in inhumane conditions and without bringing charges.

In the past, the Nigerian government denied human rights abuses. The government also accused some critics of harming its campaign against terrorism. Amnesty International says earlier calls to investigate military abuses have largely been ignored. The group also says it is concerned that the state of emergency could “give way to a state of lawlessness.”

I’m Anne Ball.

This report was based on a story from reporter Heather Murdock in Abuja.


Words in the News

emergency – n. an unexpected and dangerous situation demanding quick action

evidence – n. material or facts that prove something; a reason for believing

ignore - v. to pay no attention to or refuse to consider

(“The president ignored the protesters outside his office.”)

security – n. freedom from danger or harm; protection; measures necessary to protect a person or place (“Security was increased in the city.”)

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