Nigerian forces making Islamist insurgency worse: Amnesty

Thu Nov 1, 2012 9:34am GMT
 

By Joe Brock

ABUJA (Reuters) - Human rights abuses committed by Nigeria's security forces in their fight against Islamist sect Boko Haram are fuelling the very insurgency they are meant to quell, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

Boko Haram says it wants to create an Islamic state in Nigeria and its fighters have killed hundreds in bomb and gun attacks targeting security forces, politicians and civilians since launching an uprising in 2009. The sect has become the No. 1 security threat to Africa's top energy producer.

The Amnesty report said Nigeria's security forces acted outside the rule of law and their brutal tactics could build support for Boko Haram outside its extremist core.

A Nigerian military spokesman contacted by Reuters rejected the report as "biased and mischievous".

"The cycle of attack and counter-attack has been marked by unlawful violence on both sides, with devastating consequences for the human rights of those trapped in the middle," said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

"Every injustice carried out in the name of security only fuels more terrorism, creating a vicious circle of murder and destruction."

The report is likely to add to calls for Nigeria's military to change its heavy-handed approach to tackling the insurgency, which critics have long said is driving desperate youths into the arms of Boko Haram.

It details cases of abuses stretching back to the start of the Boko Haram uprising in 2009.   Continued...

A Nigerian army Armored Personnel Carrier patrols in Lagos, Nigeria, April 26, 2011. REUTERS/Joseph Penney
 
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