Wednesday, March 16, 2016
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to prosecute soldiers who killed hundreds of detainees, despite promises to end impunity and military abuses, Amnesty International said Monday.
Buhari should “take urgent action,” starting with the soldiers who slaughtered 640 suspects on March 14, 2014, after a Boko Haram attack on the Giwa Barracks in northeastern Maiduguri city, the London-based organization said.
Amnesty International documented the killings, verified video showing them and used satellite imagery to identify the mass graves.
“Despite repeated promises by President Buhari and his government that Amnesty International’s report would be looked into, no concrete steps have been taken to begin independent investigations,” it said.
In the two years since the Giwa killings, “the pattern of unjustified use of lethal force by the military has continued with no one held accountable,” while suspects continue to be held in military detention without charge or access to lawyers or families.
The Associated Press last month reported on ongoing disappearances and extrajudicial killings of people detained by the military, often picked up arbitrarily in mass roundups in the northeast war zone. There, many people are as scared of Boko Haram as they are of the soldiers meant to protect them.
In an attack unrelated to the Islamic insurgency, human rights activists say Nigerian troops killed many hundreds of Shiite Muslims in raids in the northern town of Zaria in December. The army says it acted after Shiites tried to assassinate Nigeria’s chief of defense — a charge the Shiites deny.
Shiite leader Ibraheem Zakzaky was wounded in the attack and remains in detention without access to his lawyer or family.
Amnesty International last year found the military had executed at least 1,200 men and boys between 2012 and 2014 and was responsible for the deaths in custody of another 7,000.
By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press