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167 persons allegedly killed by Nigerian security forces since January – Amnesty International

Amnesty, security

At least, 167 persons have been documented as victims of ruthless force by the Nigerian security forces and were killed between January to June 2021, a report by Amnesty International revealed.

Nigerian security operatives including military, police, and the Department of State Services (DSS) have allegedly committed a catalogue of human rights violations and crimes under international law in their response to spiralling violence in the Southeast Nigeria, the international body had claimed.

The forces were said to have carried out a repressive campaign since January which included mass arrests, excessive and unlawful force, torture and other ill-treatment.

The organisation said some of the 400 suspected members of ESN arrested by the Imo State government in May were randomly picked up in their homes and off the streets.

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Media reports, video and audio recordings reviewed by Amnesty International further accused the Nigerian security forces of employing excessive force and other unlawful means to address the rising violence.

Report has it that Nigerian security forces launched security operations in June, after gunmen suspected to be ESN militants launched a series of attacks on government infrastructure, including prisons and public buildings, killing several police officers.

The organisation said that the Nigerian security forces in Anambra, Imo, Abia, and Ebonyi states, allegedly killed while their victims with no apparent justification.

Osai Ojigho, Country Director at Amnesty International, accused the Nigerian government of responded with a “heavy hand to killings and violence widely attributed to the armed group calling itself Eastern Security Network (ESN), the wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a pro-Biafra movement.”

Ojigho said the government officials claimed that the ESN killed dozens of security operatives and attacked at least ten public buildings, including prisons and police stations, from January to June.

In response, security forces “killed dozens of gunmen, as well as civilians, where attacks have been committed,” she alleged.

Eyewitnesses account, according to the right organization noted that the security forces engaged with the use of force, physical abuse, extortion, burning of houses, theft, and extrajudicial executions of suspects.

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