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Amnesty: Nigerian military committing war crimes

Amnesty also accused the military of extra-judicial killings of dozens members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, saying…

Amnesty also accused the military of extra-judicial killings of dozens members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria under the leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, saying though they were arrested after a peaceful pro-Palestinian rally in Zaria but were executed in custody.
The report said: “gruesome video footage, images and testimonies gathered by Amnesty International provide fresh evidence of war crimes, including extrajudicial executions, and other serious human rights violations” by the Nigerian military in its fight against insurgents.
 On Zaria killings, the report said “the heavy-handed behaviour of the military also caused shock waves in Kaduna state in July. Twelve people from a mostly-Shia sect led by Sheikh Zakzaky appear to have been killed in custody by the Nigerian military. They were arrested after taking part in an apparently peaceful protest, in which 21 other protesters, including two children, were also killed after the military opened fire on them.”
“A footage obtained from numerous sources during a recent trip to Borno state, reveals graphic evidence of multiple war crimes being carried out in the country,” Amnesty said.  
These war crimes evidences include “horrific images of detainees having their throats slit one by one and dumped in mass graves by men who appear to be members of the Nigerian military and the ‘Civilian Joint Task Force’ (CJTF), state-sponsored militias.”
“Nigerians deserve better – what does it say when members of the military carry out such unspeakable acts and capture the images on film?” Amnesty’s Secretary General Salil Shetty asked.
“These are not the images we expect from a government which sees itself as having a leadership role in Africa. The ghastly images are backed up by the numerous testimonies we have gathered which suggest that extrajudicial executions are, in fact, regularly carried out by the Nigerian military and CJTF,” the report said.
The Amnesty called on the Nigerian authorities to ensure that the military stops committing human rights and humanitarian law violations, adding that reports of extrajudicial executions and other war crimes and serious violations must be investigated promptly, thoroughly, independently and impartially, with those responsible – up the entire chain of command – brought to justice.
The report said another footage “shows what appear to be members of the Nigerian military and CJTF using a blade to slit the throats of a series of detainees, before dumping them into an open mass grave,” near Maiduguri on March 14.
Amnesty said it spoke to several military sources who independently confirmed that the armed captors in the video were indeed military personnel, and according to two credible sources, they may be part of the 81 Battalion, which is based in Borno State.
“Several of the armed captors are wearing military uniforms, one of which has the words ‘Borno State Operation Flush’ emblazoned on the front. The ID number on one of the guns is also clearly identifiable (81BN/SP/407). According to military sources, the rifle belongs to the Support Company of the 81 Battalion and it has not been reported missing,” the report said.  
It said in 23 July 2013, Nigerian military and CJTF from Maiduguri went to the central market around 11am and arrested up to 35 detainees, loaded them onto a single military vehicle and taken away to the local military barracks in Bama, where they were summarily executed, the report said.
Though Ministry of Justice wrote Amnesty to say that it was investigating the incidents, “no details of the investigation have been made public,” the report said.
 But in its response, the DHQ spokesperson, Major General Chris Olukolade said in a statement that, in addition to its Joint Investigation Team (JIT), DHQ has set up a team of senior officers, legal and forensic experts “to study the video footage and the resultant allegations of infractions in order to ascertain the veracity of the claims with a view to identifying those behind such acts.”

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