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Nigerian diplomat denies extrajudicial killings

2014-08-11  Mathias Haufiku

Nigerian diplomat denies extrajudicial killings

WINDHOEK- The Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia, Biodun Olorunfemi, denied allegations by Amnesty International that the Nigerian military is committing extrajudicial killing of civilians in its troubled northern region and demanded an independent, impartial investigation into a video showing soldiers slaughtering civilians.

The non-governmental organisation said recently that it has gathered gruesome video footage, images and testimonies which provide fresh evidence of extrajudicial executions and other serious human rights violations being carried out in north-eastern Nigeria as the fight by the military against Boko Haram and other armed groups intensifies.

Olorunfemi said the Nigerian military is well aware of the rules of engagement during a crisis, therefore, they should not be accused of committing extrajudicial killings.

“They [military] know that extrajudicial killings are forbidden and they are very organized in this regard,” Olorunfemi said.

“The claims cannot be true because you have insurgents going to villages burning churches and mosques and killing people. They also attack and kill members of the military and the international community does not see how much damage this is doing to the people,” he said.

The high commissioner lamented that “Amnesty International is not sincere at times – they make claims about extrajudicial killings, I do not know why they are doing that. I think some of them do not know the role they are playing.”

“They must get their stories correct because the way Amnesty International comes out accusing the military of committing extrajudicial killings is unfair on Nigeria. Everyday there are reports of insurgency in a country where insurgency is high – reports of Boko Haram burning churches, mosques and killing people but they do not report about it,” said Olorunfemi.

According to Amnesty International, the footage obtained from numerous sources during a recent trip to Borno state reveals graphic evidence of multiple war crimes being carried out in Nigeria.

“It includes 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, state-sponsored militias. It also shows the aftermath of a Boko Haram raid on a village that resulted in almost 100 deaths and destruction on a massive scale,” said the NGO in a press release circulated on Tuesday.

Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty said the evidence is shocking and it is further proof of the appalling disregard for humanity in north-eastern Nigeria.

“What does it say about a country when its military carry out such unspeakable acts and then deliberately capture the images on film?” Shetty asked.

“These are not images we expect from a country which sees itself as having a leadership role in Africa,” he said.

By Mathias Haufiku

2014-08-11  Mathias Haufiku

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