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Nigerian army ‘killed hundreds’

Tank in Maiduguri after attack on Giwa barracks (14/03/14)The army presence in Maiduguri has been strengthened since a state of emergency was declared last year

Nigeria’s army killed some 600 people after a recent attack by Boko Haram militants on a barracks, Amnesty International has said.

Quoting eye-witnesses, it said that after the raid in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, detainees who had escaped were rounded up and killed.

The army has not yet commented on the allegations but has denied previous reports of abuses.

The conflict has killed some 1,500 people this year, according to Amnesty.

Half of those killed were civilians, the organisation said.

Hundreds of militants were said to have taken part in the 14 March attack on the Giwa barracks in Maiduguri, which the BBC’s Will Ross described as a particularly brazen assault.

Military aircraft were deployed after the jailbreak.

Captured Boko Haram suspects are often detained in Giwa barracks, and human rights groups say hundreds have died or been subjected to torture there – allegations always denied by the military.

One eyewitness told Amnesty that a self-defence group known as civilian JTF captured some of the detainees who had escaped.

“I saw the soldiers asking the people to lie on the ground,” the witness said.

“There was a small argument between the soldiers and the civilian JTF. The soldiers made some calls and a few minutes later they started shooting the people on the ground. I counted 198 people killed at that checkpoint.”

Amnesty says all parties are violating international law and wants an investigation into what may be war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“The summary killing of these detainees amount to extrajudicial executions and are crimes under international law,” said Amnesty’s Netsanet Belay.

“These killings follow an entrenched pattern of deaths in custody of detainees held in relation to the situation in the north-east.”


The violence has forced some 250,000 people from their homes so far this year, according to the government’s relief agency.

It said more than three million people are facing a humanitarian crisis.

Boko Haram was launched in Maiduguri in 2009, with the aim of setting up an Islamic state.

A state of emergency was declared in three north-eastern states last year to help the military crush the insurgency.

However, the militants have stepped up attacks in recent months.

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