19 Journalists Suffered Attack In Nigeria Within Nine Months – Amnesty International

AFP photo

 

 

Amnesty International says no fewer than 19 journalists and media practitioners have suffered attack in Nigeria between January and September 2019.

The human rights organisation disclosed this in its report entitled, Endangered Voices: Attack On Freedom Of Expression In Nigeria.

In the 42-page document launched in Abuja on Monday, the group noted that the figure was the highest recorded in the country since 2015.

One of the cases highlighted in the report is that of Jones Abiri, a journalist based in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, who was arrested and detained for more than two years without trial for publishing a story about oil blocks and politics in Nigeria.

Another incident is that of Ahmed Salkida who was declared wanted by the Nigerian government for publishing an article and proof of life video of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, among other cases.

READ ALSO: Police Uncover Islamic Centre With Chained, Maltreated Children In Daura

Amnesty decried that the civic space has continued to shrink, stressing that clear examples of such were the attacks on freedom of information and expression as well as media freedom.

“Since 2015, attacks on journalists and media activists have continued unabated. Amnesty International has been closely monitoring these attacks and now reports on how they have contributed to the violation of other human rights in Nigeria.

“These attacks take the form of verbal and physical assault, as well as indiscriminate arrest and detention by Nigerian authorities,” Amnesty said in the executive summary page of the report.

 

Death Threats?

It accused the security forces of perpetrating most of the violations, adding that they occur when journalists and media practitioners seek access to information, share information or express critical views that could drive public opinion.

The group was worried that dissenting views expressed by media practitioners were often criminalised, particularly when they revolve around sensitive issues.

It also noted that there was stifling of freedom of expression in circumstances where journalists were pressured to disclose their sources of information.

“Those who spoke to Amnesty International confirmed that they came under intense pressure from Nigeria’s security officials to reveal their sources of information, particularly when they published stories that focused on corruption, elections, and armed conflict.

“Some of the journalists were kept under surveillance, while others received death threats via telephone calls from unidentified people.

“Many journalists also came under attack while reporting the 2019 General Elections across Nigeria,” the report revealed.

According to the group, the failure of the Nigerian government to investigate cases of indiscriminate arrest, detention, and prosecution of journalists and media practitioners ensures that perpetrators are not held to account for human rights violations.

It said while many of the victims faced indiscriminate charges such as ‘defamation’ and ‘terrorism’, others had charges such as ‘kidnapping’, criminal trespass and theft of state documents brought against them.

Amnesty accused the government at both federal and state levels of violating and repressing the human rights of bloggers, journalists, broadcasters and social media users.

It stated that the Nigerian authorities have legally binding obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information, media freedom and personal liberty in the country.

The group, therefore, asked the government to immediately end violations and abuses of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information, as well as media freedom and personal liberty.

It recommended that journalists, bloggers, and media activists must have access to information and be able to do their job freely without any fear of reprisal.

Amnesty also called for thorough and effective investigations into allegations of attacks against victims and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible through fair trials.

Among other demands, it called on the government to issue clear directives to the police, military, and other security agencies to refrain from applying existing laws in a manner that restricts or interferes with rights to freedom of expression.

Amnesty International Demands Justice For Victims Of Sudan Violence

Secretary-General of Amnesty International Kumi Naidoo speaks during a press conference in Sudan’s capital Khartoum on September 13, 2019.
Ebrahim HAMID / AFP

 

Rights group Amnesty International Friday called for justice for those killed during months of protests that rocked Sudan, insisting that demonstrators had faced “disproportionate and unnecessary” violence.

Sudan has experienced unprecedentedly large rallies since December, first against now-ousted leader Omar al-Bashir and later against the generals who seized power after overthrowing him.

The protest movement says that more than 250 demonstrators were killed in the violence, including at least 127 in a crackdown on a sit-in during early June outside military headquarters in Khartoum.

“Amnesty International thanks the people of Sudan for showing us courage, for showing us resilience and for showing that we can resist injustice and violation of human rights,” Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo told reporters during a visit to Khartoum, in the first such trip by the rights group’s chief to Sudan.

He said the demonstrators were confronted by “disproportionate use of violence, unnecessary use of violence and provocative use of violence”.

READ ALSO: South African Protesters Demand Crackdown On Femicide

“Amnesty International will back the Sudanese people in calling on the new government to ensure that there are absolute accountability and justice” for the families of those killed.

Protests first erupted in December against the then government’s decision to triple the price of bread.

They swiftly escalated into a nationwide campaign against Bashir’s ironfisted three-decade rule.

The army ousted Bashir on April 11 but protesters continued their street campaign, switching it against the military council that overthrow him.

In August, Sudan embarked on a transition to civilian rule thanks to a power-sharing deal signed between protest leaders and the generals, and a joint civilian-military ruling body was sworn in.

On Sunday, an 18-member cabinet was sworn in, the first since the ouster of Bashir.

AFP

South African Authorities Must Stop ‘Fuelling Xenophobia’ – Amnesty International

A man kicks a burning piece of furniture during a riot in the Johannesburg suburb of Turffontein on September 2, 2019. Michele Spatari / AFP.

 

 

Human rights organisation, Amnesty International has called on South African authorities to urgently address the escalating attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners living in the country.

The Executive Director of the organisation in South Africa, Mr Shenilla Mohamed, made the call while faulting the government’s attitude to the crisis.

Mohamed’s criticism comes amid the series of condemnation that has trailed the xenophobic attacks targetted at Nigerians and citizens of other countries in South Africa.

“South African authorities must stop fuelling xenophobia in their desperate attempt to win political support,” he was quoted as saying in a statement on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Is Recalling Its High Commissioner To South Africa – Lai Mohammed

The executive director added, “Rather, they must build a country that is rooted in respect for human rights and the rule of law that protects everyone.

“South African authorities must come up with a security plan to ensure the safety of all refugees and migrants and seek to end these attacks once and for all. That begins with holding suspected perpetrators of past xenophobic crimes to account and breaking this cycle of impunity.”

According to Mohamed, ongoing attacks against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, as well as looting of foreign-owned shops in South Africa is a direct consequence of years of impunity.

He also blamed it on the failure in the country’s criminal justice system that has left vulnerable group exposed and unprotected.

Convenient Scapegoats?

The executive director noted that five people have been confirmed dead as violence between locals and foreigners continued to escalate in Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa.

He said, “South African authorities cannot say that they didn’t see this rampant violence coming. For many years refugees, asylum seekers and migrants have been targeted for who they are and what they look like.

“They have also served as convenient scapegoats for unscrupulous politicians who have pushed the insidious narrative that foreign nationals have stolen jobs and are to blame for everything that is going wrong in the country.”

Mohamed said the first major outbreak of xenophobic attacks in South Africa witnessed more than 11 years ago resulted in the killing of more than 60 people.

He wondered why such crisis was not seen as a wake-up call for the authorities to root out hatred against refugees and migrants and hold those responsible to account.

“Their lack of action has resulted in the subsequent and recurring attacks we’ve seen,” the executive director decried.

Condemning the recent attacks, he noted that South Africa has been experiencing systematic looting and burning of businesses belonging to foreign nationals, largely in Pretoria and Johannesburg for weeks.

Mohamed insisted that businesses belonging to Nigerians and other foreign nationals have been targeted in the two cities, with stock and possessions worth millions burnt to ashes.

He said the violence dramatically escalated last week following confrontations between locals and foreigners, marked by horrific attacks and killings.

The executive director insisted that the South African government has largely failed to address past xenophobic, violent outbreaks across the country.

Amnesty International Frowns At Alleged Torture Of Suspects By Nigeria Police, Military

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

Amnesty International has decried the alleged use of torture by Nigeria military and police to get information from suspects.

The group said its arm in Nigeria has continued to receive regular reports of torture and other ill-treatment in military and police custody despite an existing law against the use of torture.

This was disclosed on Wednesday in a statement released by Amnesty International in commemoration International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

“Nigerian authorities must do more to end the ongoing use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment by law enforcement agencies.

“Despite recent government measures aimed at reducing the incidence of torture in the country, Amnesty International Nigeria continues to receive regular reports of torture and other ill-treatment in military and police custody. Moreover, victims are still being denied justice, with the Nigerian judicial system failing to prevent or punish torture, perpetuating a culture of impunity,” the statement read in part.

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The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho in the statement added that, although steps have been taken to address torture in Nigeria, including the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act in December 2017 and the setting up of the presidential panel on reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) the use of torture by the police and others is still widespread.

“Our research also shows that despite an existing law against the use of torture, no police officer has been charged under the act. Moreover, the Nigerian police is yet to amend Force Order 237 which allows police officers to shoot at fleeing suspects, giving room for lethal use of force that sometimes leads to extrajudicial killings.

“On 5 March 2018 a high court in Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State ordered the Nigeria Police Force to pay compensation to Ugochukwu Oraefo for extortion, illegal arrest, unlawful detention and torture after he was arrested by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Awkuzu, Anambra state. The police have neither paid the victim nor ensured that the police officers involved have been brought to justice.

“Amnesty International highlighted rampant torture and ill-treatment especially by the SARS police unit in the report: Nigeria: ‘You Have Signed Your Death Warrant’ in 2016, yet shocking incidents of torture still continue. Every now and then videos of police officers or soldiers torturing suspects surface and generate outrage.”

The human rights group said it is time Nigerian authorities declare, in strong terms, that security personnel will be held accountable for torture and that victims of torture will get justice, including rehabilitation and compensation.

In 2018 Nigerian activists launched a nationwide social media campaign #EndSARS, demanding an end to torture and other ill-treatment by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SAR), a special police squad created to fight armed robbery cases. In response, the police authorities acknowledged that SARS has been responsible for widespread violations and announced some reforms, while the government directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a panel to investigate the activities of SARS.

The panel submitted its report in May 2019.

An Amnesty International poll in May 2019 indicated that 63 percent of poll respondents regard torture and unlawful killings by the police, as the most serious human rights violation they want the government to address.

Amnesty International Seeks Abolition Of Death Penalty In Nigeria

NGO Bill: Protect Your Freedom, Amnesty International Tells Nigerians

 

Global rights group, Amnesty International has launched an eight point human rights agenda, asking the Federal and State Governments to urgently implement recommendations from previous reports about human rights violations in Nigeria.

Amnesty International also asked for an abolition of death sentence and as well an end to torture as a means of extracting information from suspects during interrogations.

Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, the country director of the human rights organization, Osai Ojigho maintained that both the Federal and State Governments need to do more to address cases of human rights abuses, adding that the new political dispensation provides politicians another opportunity.

READ ALSO: Court Sentences Beninoise Househelp To Death For Murder Of Boss

Over the years, Amnesty International has documented reports about human rights abuses across Nigeria. Some of those reports are often very critical about the operations of government agencies especially the police and the Nigeria military.

At the news conference in Abuja, the human rights organization did not release a new report, but proposed eight point human rights agenda for the new political dispensation in Nigeria.

The organization said it wants government to end violence against women and girls, stop torture and abolish death penalty.

In line with the rights group’s request, many agree that the issue of torture as a means of extracting information from suspects should be abolished, however, many others disagree with the human rights organization on their quest to abolish the death penalty.

Although many countries around the world have abolished capital punishment, death penalty is still practiced in some countries including China, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Amnesty International Condemns Killing Of Nigerian Woman By Saudi Arabia Government

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

 

Amnesty International has condemned the execution of the Nigerian woman by Saudi Arabia.

The human rights group in a statement via twitter noted that since 2014, 8 Nigerians have been executed including 7men and 1 woman.

According to Amnesty International the highest number of execution was recorded in 2018 with the execution of 5 Nigerians.

Amnesty International urged the Saudi Arabian government to put an end to the act of violence.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Two Over Killing Of UNILAG Medical Grad, Stephen Urueye

In a similar vein, Amnesty International has said that the Nigerian Justice system has failed to curb the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit.

The rights agency made the assertion in reaction to the killing of a young man named Kolade Johnson, by an alleged member of SARS.

Amnesty International said that the Nigerian authorities must investigate the killing of the young man shot dead by the “notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit” while he was watching a televised football match in Lagos.

Amnesty International said it has documented a pattern of grave human rights violations carried out by SARS since 2016.

“Kolade Johnson is the latest victim of the SARS police unit which has become notorious for extrajudicial killings, torture, and extortion,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“This appears to be an unlawful killing which must be impartially and thoroughly investigated, with any officers suspected of criminal responsibility for wrongdoing brought to justice in a fair trial before an ordinary civilian court.

It is shameful that more than two years since Amnesty International highlighted crimes under international law and human rights violations by SARS, these shocking incidents continue unabated.”

#EndSARS: Nigerian Justice System Has Failed To Prevent, Punish Torture – Amnesty International

 

Amnesty International has said that the Nigerian Justice system has failed to curb the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit.

The rights agency made the assertion in reaction to the killing of a young man named Kolade Johnson, by an alleged member of SARS.

Amnesty International said that the Nigerian authorities must investigate the killing of the young man shot dead by the “notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit” while he was watching a televised football match in Lagos yesterday.

Kolade Johnson was reportedly shot accidentally by SARS officers who had been pursuing another man at the football viewing center.

Amnesty International said it has documented a pattern of grave human rights violations carried out by SARS since 2016.

“Kolade Johnson is the latest victim of the SARS police unit which has become notorious for extrajudicial killings, torture, and extortion,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“This appears to be an unlawful killing which must be impartially and thoroughly investigated, with any officers suspected of criminal responsibility for wrongdoing brought to justice in a fair trial before an ordinary civilian court.

It is shameful that more than two years since Amnesty International highlighted crimes under international law and human rights violations by SARS, these shocking incidents continue unabated.”

Reports suggest that Kolade Johnson was hit by a stray bullet when SARS officers tried to disperse a crowd during an operation to arrest another man.

There has been a public outcry over the killing, with thousands of people using the #EndSARS social media hashtag in the past 24 hours.

“Nigerians will no longer accept the brutality being unleashed against them by SARS on an almost daily basis,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“SARS is a police unit created to protect the people. Instead, it has become a danger to society, torturing its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a toxic climate of fear and corruption.”

Amnesty International said its investigations into the activities of SARS across Nigeria since 2016 have exposed the callous workings of a police squad operating outside of the law.

“The September 2016 report ‘Nigeria: You have signed your death warrant’ showed how the unit has been systematically torturing detainees as a means of extracting confessions and bribes.

“All subsequent government pledges to reform SARS, including one by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in August last year, have amounted to nothing.

“In addition to its stated remit of tackling violent crime, in some cases, SARS investigates civil matters and has tortured detainees involved in contractual, business and even domestic disputes.

“Victims of SARS crimes are often legally powerless to defend themselves against criminal accusations and torture.

“Much more needs to be done to end human rights violations by SARS, including unnecessary and excessive use of force, extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention, and extortion. Wide-ranging reforms must be carried out so that Nigerians can trust the police to protect them,” said Osai Ojigho.

“Evidence of crimes and human rights violations committed by SARS is widely available, including in reports by Amnesty International, and this should aid effective investigation into crimes committed by the squad.”

READ ALSO: Police Nab Suspected Illegal Fuel Bunker In Ejigbo

Below are some tweets by Amnesty International regarding the case of Kolade Johnson.

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

Accountability For Human Rights Violations Remains Elusive, Says Amnesty

 

Global human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has raised concern over the inability of the Nigerian government to hold those involved in human rights violation accountable.

In a statement by the Media Manager of Amnesty International Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, the group decried what it described as pervasive violence against women.

According to the statement, these include purported rape of women and girls at various Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps, as well as sexual violence against female detainees by security operatives, sometimes in order to extract confessions.

READ ALSOAmnesty International Demands Probe Of ‘Rampant Corruption’ In IDP Camps

The group said it was worried that the violations have continued, despite the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act by the National Assembly in 2015.

“While welcoming Nigeria’s acceptance of recommendations to intensify efforts to combat gender-based violence, the organisation urges the government to ensure that victims throughout the Federation can seek legal redress for gender-based violations, in line with the provisions of the VAPP,” it said.

“Since the beginning of the armed conflict in northeast Nigeria in 2009, Amnesty International has documented war crimes and other human rights abuses by Boko Haram and serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the security forces, including arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances, unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions,” it stated further.

It, however, frowned on the lack of accountability for crimes committed by Boko Haram, as well as by government forces in the fight against the insurgents, and called on the government to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice in fair trials.

The organisation noted that several states had called on the Federal Government to strengthen the protection of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

In order to promote these rights, it disclosed that it recently launched a campaign on freedom of expression in Nigeria.

Amnesty International explained that this was a platform to call on the government to ensure that journalists and other media professionals could operate without fear of arrests or other reprisals.

Noting that the Human Rights Council has adopted a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcome on Nigeria, the group commended the nation’s cooperation with the review process and its positive response to some of the recommendations made by other states in the UPR Working Group.

Amnesty International Demands Probe Of ‘Rampant Corruption’ In IDP Camps

Amnesty International Demands Probe Of 'Rampant Corruption' In IDP Camps

 

Human rights group Amnesty International has called on the Federal Government to investigate what it described as “credible allegations of rampant corruption” made by victims of the Boko Haram insurgency at various Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps.

It made the demand in a series of tweets on Friday to commemorate the celebration of International Women’s Day.

“There were protests at the Shettima Ali Monguno and Teachers Village camps in Maiduguri in February over lack of food, ill-treatment and corruption,” the group said.

READ ALSOElectoral Violence: Military Dismisses Fear Of Reprisals Over Killing Of Personnel

It further accused the Nigerian authorities of continuing to fail thousands of women who fled their homes as a result of the activities of the insurgents.

Amnesty International noted that this comes almost a year after its investigation revealed the “patterns of abuse by the security forces.”

“Many of these women still struggle to access food and other basic items in camps for IDP’s and are restricted from leaving.

“Those who speak up about their ordeal face harassment from government officials, particularly the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA),” it alleged.

The group decried that the combination of movement restrictions and lack of assistance has left female IDPs at increased risk of sexual exploitation allegedly by security operatives present in and around the camps.

According to it, the Boko Haram conflict forced thousands of women to live in squalid conditions in IDP camps.

Amnesty International, however, insisted that it was the responsibility of the Nigerian authorities to protect the women and bring all those suspected of exploiting them to justice.

Amnesty International Demands Release Of Activist Maryam Awaisu

Amnesty International Condemns Election-Related Violence, Asks FG To Protect Citizens

 

Amnesty International has demanded the unconditional release of author and human rights activist Maryam Awaisu.

Awaisu, one of the leaders of the #ArewaMeToo movement, which is seeking justice for victims of sexual harassment, was reportedly arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in her office in Kaduna on Tuesday.

A statement by the Media Manager of AI Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, said the arrest appeared to be an attempt to intimidate her and supporters of the movement.

“Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Maryam Aiwasu who has done nothing more than speaking up for women’s rights,” Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International was quoted as saying.

“Her arrest appears to be an attempt to intimidate and harass both her and other women supporting #AreweMeToo – a movement seeking justice for victims of sexual violence in Nigeria.”

Ojigho added, “While arresting Maryam, the police attempted to gain access to her laptop and mobile phone by force; this is clearly an effort to access the sensitive evidence she and other human rights defenders have been gathering to seek justice for victims of sexual violence.”

For the Amnesty International Director, the arrest is unacceptable as it might prevent victims of sexual violence from seeking justice.

“Maryam and the other brave human rights defenders working with the #AreweMeToo movement must not be silenced or punished for the vital work they do,” he said.

“For too long, Nigeria’s women have been facing various kinds of sexual violence that seldom receives proper attention from the country’s law enforcement agencies.

“It is unacceptable that women working on behalf of these victims are subjected to such arrest and intimidation, and we fear that these actions may prevent victims of sexual violence from pursuing justice.”

Amnesty International Condemns Election-Related Violence, Asks FG To Protect Citizens

Amnesty International Condemns Election-Related Violence, Asks FG To Protect Citizens

 

Amnesty International has called on the Nigerian government to protect the people from violence before, during and after the coming general elections.

Ahead of the polls scheduled for February 16 and March 2, the human rights organisation also called for the full respect for freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

It said there have been several instances of violence at election campaign rallies in some states, including the deaths of four people in clashes between rival political supporters in Kano State in December 2018.

READ ALSOBuhari, Atiku, Other Presidential Candidates Sign Second Peace Accord

“The election-related violence in states such as Kano, Kwara, Kogi, Rivers, Taraba and Bayelsa is deeply troubling and, if not urgently addressed, will undermine respect for human rights throughout the election period,” Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said in a statement on Wednesday.

She added, “Amnesty International has received reports of supporters of some politicians violently targeting political opponents, real or perceived.

“The authorities must stamp out any potential impunity by ensuring these incidents are investigated and that those suspected to be responsible are brought to justice.”

Read the full statement below;

The Nigerian authorities must protect people from violence and ensure full respect for freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association before, during and after the country’s upcoming general election, Amnesty International said ahead of the votes scheduled for 16 February and 2 March 2019.
There have been several instances of violence at election campaign rallies in some states in recent months, including the deaths of four people in Kano state in clashes between rival political supporters in December 2018.
“The election-related violence in states such as Kano, Kwara, Kogi, Rivers, Taraba and Bayelsa is deeply troubling and, if not urgently addressed, will undermine respect for human rights throughout the election period,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“Amnesty International has received reports of supporters of some politicians violently targeting political opponents, real or perceived. The authorities must stamp out any potential impunity by ensuring these incidents are investigated and that those suspected to be responsible are brought to justice.”
In other pre-election violence, one person was killed and many were injured when an All Progressives Congress (APC) rally in Sagbama, Bayelsa state turned violent on 3 February.
Previously, a 12-hour curfew was imposed in Wukari, Taraba state last month following violent clashes between supporters of the APC and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the two main political parties.
“Authorities must put in place measures to ensure politicians and their supporters do not infringe on human rights. They must make clear that there is zero-tolerance for human rights violations and that anyone suspected of wrongdoing will be brought to justice,” said Osai Ojigho.
Recently, a PDP politician in Kaduna Mr Ben Bako was caught on video asking his supporters to attack anyone who voted for a different political party in a volatile southern part of the state.
“The authorities must fully investigate all allegations of incitement to violence and other human rights abuses before, during and after the elections and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice,” said Osai Ojigho.
“Political parties and candidates must publicly condemn any advocacy of hatred or incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.
“The authorities must also ensure that international and national civil society groups and agencies that will monitor the elections are able to do so in safety.”
About Amnesty International
Amnesty International is a worldwide human rights campaigning movement that works to promote all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards. Amnesty International is impartial and independent of any government, political persuasion, economic interest or religious creed.

Boko Haram Kills 60 In Attack On Rann – Amnesty International

Boko Haram Kills 60 In ‘Deadliest Attack’ On Rann – Amnesty International
A file photo of a community in Rann after a bomb explosion.

 

Amnesty International has said at least 60 people were killed following the devastating Boko Haram attack on Rann, a border town in Borno State on Monday.

In a statement on Friday, the organisation also analysed satellite imagery which showed hundreds of burned structures in the town.

According to it, many of the destroyed structures only date back to 2017, suggesting they were shelters for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) who came to Rann seeking protection.

“We have now confirmed that this week’s attack on Rann was the deadliest yet by Boko Haram, killing at least 60 people,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“Using satellite imagery, we have also been able to confirm the mass burning of structures as Boko Haram unleashed a massive assault on Rann, most of which is now destroyed.”

READ ALSOArmy Confirms Boko Haram Attack On Rann

Ojigho added, “This attack on civilians who have already been displaced by the bloody conflict may amount to possible war crime, and those responsible must be brought to justice.

“Disturbingly, witnesses told us that Nigerian soldiers abandoned their posts the day before the attack, demonstrating the authorities’ utter failure to protect civilians.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army confirmed that the town was attacked, although it did not state the number of casualties.

It said troops “repelled” the attack while calm has been restored in the town.

Inadequate Security?

Amnesty International disclosed further that alleged withdrawal of troops triggered a massive exodus of civilians to Cameroon, as fear spread that Boko Haram would take advantage and attack the town.

It said a group of Boko Haram fighters arrived on motorcycles at around 9am on 28 January and set houses ablaze while those left behind were killed.

The group said the terrorists also chased after those who attempted to escape and killed some people outside the town, noting that 11 bodies were found within Rann while 49 others were found outside.

According to the statement, it was informed that about 50 people have not been accounted for and those who took part in the burial explained what they saw.

“Ten of us [Civilian Joint Task Force] came from Cameroon to Rann for the burial,” an eyewitness was quoted as saying. “When we arrived, we found and buried 11 corpses within the town, but the soldiers told us that they buried several others yesterday [30 January] who had decayed.”

“Outside the town, we recovered and buried 49 dead bodies all with gunshot wounds,” the witness added

Aid agencies, according to Amnesty International, reported that some 30,000 civilians have fled for the border with Cameroon in recent days, joining a further 9,000 who fled previous Boko Haram attack on Rann on 14 January.

Satellite Evidence

Amnesty International analysed satellite images from Wednesday, showing hundreds of structures burned in the east, south and southeast of Rann.

According to it, environmental sensors detected fires in the area on Monday and Tuesday.

In the 14 January attack, Boko Haram burned well over 100 structures in other areas of Rann, the grouped revealed, stressing that the two recent attacks have left most of the town heavily damaged or destroyed.

Amnesty International, therefore, called on the Nigerian authorities to investigate the alleged withdrawal of security forces of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) from Rann, which it said may have left tens of thousands of civilians exposed to the latest deadly attack.

“Boko Haram has consistently and deliberately targeted civilians in Rann, which makes the Nigerian authorities’ failure to protect people all the more unacceptable,” said Ojigho.

She added, “The authorities on both sides of the border must provide the supplies and safety that these people require.

“The Cameroonian authorities must also desist from forcing people to return until conditions are safe and they choose to do so voluntarily.”