The Nigerian military and several of its senior officers must be investigated for war crimes after thousands of deaths over a four-year period, Amnesty International said.
Since March 2011, more than 7,000 young men and boys died in military detention, while more than 1,200 people were unlawfully killed since February 2012, the London-based rights group said in a statement handed to reporters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. Amnesty named and called for an investigation of three Major Generals and two Brigadier Generals, as well as four current and former chiefs of staff.
“Thousands of young men and boys have been arbitrarily arrested and deliberately killed or left to die in detention in the most horrific conditions,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary-general. “It provides strong grounds for investigations into the possible criminal responsibility of members of the military, including those at the highest levels.”
The report also states that at least 20,000 young males have been arrested by the armed forces since 2009, some as young as nine years old, in response to the insurgency, Amnesty said. Most were arbitrarily detained and almost none have been brought to court, the rights group said, after receiving leaked military reports and interviewing 400 victims, witnesses and senior Nigerian security force officials.