ABUJA, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s army burned down villages and forcibly displaced tons of of individuals in its struggle towards Islamist insurgents within the nation’s northeast, rights group Amnesty Worldwide alleged on Friday.
Nigeria’s army, which has often been accused of human rights abuses in its decade-long struggle towards Boko Haram and extra just lately Islamic State’s West African department, didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Three residents interviewed by Reuters confirmed Amnesty’s findings.
Earlier allegations have sparked investigations by the Worldwide Legal Court docket within the Hague and hampered Nigeria’s skill to buy arms, a supply of frustration for its army’s leaders. Nevertheless, convictions of troopers have been uncommon and the army has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
Within the newest allegations, Amnesty mentioned Nigerian troopers razed three villages after forcing tons of of women and men to go away their houses within the northeastern state of Borno in January.
The human rights group mentioned it interviewed 12 victims and reviewed satellite tv for pc photographs that confirmed a number of massive fires within the space and virtually each construction razed.
Residents described troopers going home to accommodate and rounding folks up, then making them stroll to a principal highway and board vans, it mentioned.
“We noticed our homes go into flames,” a girl of round 70 instructed Amnesty. “All of us began crying.”
The vans took greater than 400 folks to a camp for folks displaced by the battle in Maiduguri, the primary metropolis within the area.
“These brazen acts of razing whole villages, intentionally destroying civilian houses and forcibly displacing their inhabitants with no crucial army grounds, ought to be investigated as doable struggle crimes,” mentioned Osai Ojigho, director for Amnesty Worldwide Nigeria, in Friday’s assertion detailing the group’s investigation.
Troopers additionally detained six males, beating a few of them, and held them for nearly a month earlier than releasing them with out cost on Jan. 30, Amnesty mentioned.
It cited Nigerian Military statements from the time that mentioned six Boko Haram suspects had been captured and tons of of captives free of the militants.
“They are saying they saved us from Boko Haram, but it surely’s a lie,” mentioned one man aged roughly 65, in line with Amnesty. “Boko Haram isn’t coming to our village.”
Three residents from two of the affected villages, now dwelling in Maiduguri, described to Reuters the identical occasions as within the rights group’s report.
“The troopers known as us Boko Haram and set our homes ablaze, earlier than evacuating all of us,” one of many residents mentioned.
Amnesty’s report was revealed because the army struggles to include the insurgencies, significantly Islamic State. Final July, troops started to withdraw to bigger garrisons, dubbed “tremendous camps”, from smaller bases that had been often overrun with heavy lack of lives.
That has left the army on the defensive and the insurgents in a position to roam throughout massive swathes of territory and perform assaults, typically on civilians, with few repercussions. (Reporting by Paul Carsten and Maiduguri Newsroom; Further reporting by Camillus Eboh; Modifying by Alexis Akwagyiram and Daniel Wallis)