Amnesty International today released satellite images that show the impact of a horrific Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria last week. The images, combined with several testimonies, provide shocking evidence of how the conflict is dramatically escalating, with dire consequences for civilians. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
[UPDATE: The Nigerian presidential elections have been postponed to March 28, 2015.]
In the Nigerian presidential elections on February 15th, and after a year of conflict spurred by attacks by the armed group Boko Haram, one would expect security issues to be the top topic of debate. However, in his New Years address to the nation, President Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent in the election, placed little emphasis on the severity of the violence in the northern regions of the country. Instead, he devoted a majority of the speech to his commitment to the oil industry and other topics of infrastructure and development. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Moses Akatugba was 16 years old when he was arrested by the Nigerian police in 2005.
In the years that followed, he was beaten by the police, shot in the hand, and hung for hours at the police station. After 8 years of torture and ill treatment that led to a coerced confession of his involvement in a robbery, he was sentenced to death November 2013.
An encounter with the Nigerian security forces can be a dangerous thing.
The police and military routinely engage in beating people in their custody with whips, gun butts, machetes, batons, sticks, rods and cables. Rape and sexual assault are widespread Detainees can be shot in the leg, foot or hand during interrogation, or have their nails or teeth extracted with pliers.
Today, Amnesty International released new findings into war crimes and other human rights abuses occurring in Nigeria.
Among the evidence gathered in recent field research were a series of videos. The contents of these video inspire horror; as an adjective, to describe the footage as haunting is about as apt as any other.
By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General
At Amnesty International, we are no strangers to suffering. Documenting human rights abuses is our daily work. Sometimes, however, we unearth evidence of such depravity that it leaves even our hardened investigators almost lost for words.
This has been the case with our revelations of war crimes from Nigeria today. The materials come from a recent mission by an Amnesty International research team which investigated widespread human rights abuses in Borno state, a region which gained worldwide notoriety following the kidnapping in April of more than 240 school girls by the armed group, Boko Haram.
By Colby Goodman, Senior Research Associate at the Security Assistance Monitor and a member of Amnesty USA’s Military, Security and Police Working Group
Late last month, the Obama Administration took the unusual step of suspending U.S. security assistance to Uganda in connection with its new “Anti-Homosexuality Act,” raising the possibility of similar U.S. restrictions for other African states on the eve of the U.S.-Africa Summit.
According to a June 24th Amnesty International fact sheet, homosexuality is illegal in 38 African countries and punishable by death in four of these states (Mauritania, northern Nigeria, southern Somalia and Sudan).
The stench of rotting flesh coming from the tiny, cramped cell overpowered him. This was the smell of torture.
As soon he set one foot inside the small room at a police detention center in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, Forensic Doctor Duarte Vieira was shocked. He had never seen anything as bad – and he had seen plenty.
This piece was originally published by Daily Nation. To watch and read the testimonies of other refugees torn away from their families during Usalama Watch, visit www.tamuka.org and follow #1FamilyKenya on social media.
By Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa.
Last month, 18-year-old Ayaan suddenly found herself at the head of her household. Her mother and father had been arrested in Nairobi as part of the counter-terrorism operation dubbed ‘Usalama Watch.’
They were detained in Kasarani stadium before being forcibly relocated to Kakuma refugee camp over 500 miles away, leaving Ayaan alone to look after her seven brothers and sisters – all under the age of 10.
Johanna Lee contributed to this post.
In mid-April, Islamist armed group Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls aged 15-18 from the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria. The abductions triggered outrage, protests and a social media campaign criticizing the response of the Nigerian authorities and demanding a major effort to secure the freedom of the girls.
Yet, almost two months later, little, if any, progress has been made in freeing the kidnapped girls and the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan and his security forces have failed to communicate a plan or even convince the families of the girls that they are doing all that they can to get the girls released.