Amnesty: Military Killed 150 Pro-Biafra Separatists in Nigeria


FILE - Policemen stand guard as
supporters of Indigenous People of
Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu rally in
Abuja, Nigeria Dec. 1, 2015.

LAGOS, NIGERIA — Nigeria’s military
has at least 150 peaceful
protesters in a “chilling campaign” to
repress renewed demands to create a
breakaway state of Biafra in the
southeast, Amnesty International said
Thursday.
The military denied any “killing of
defenseless agitators.” Security forces
have “exercised maximum restraint” in
response to violent protesters who in
May killed five police officers and
wounded several soldiers, said army
spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman.
Evidence analyzed
The London-based human rights
organization said an analysis of 87
videos, 122 photographs and testimony
from 146 witnesses showed “the
military fired live ammunition with
little or no warning” into crowds
protesting in several cities between
August 2015 and August 2016.
Hundreds of people have been
arbitrarily detained and some tortured,
Amnesty said.

Indigenous People of Biafra leader
Nnamdi Kanu at the federal high court
in Abuja, Nigeria Jan. 20, 2016.
The report quotes one woman in
Onitsha city who said her husband
called her May 30 to say a soldier had
shot him in the stomach and he was in
a military truck with six others, four
dead, and then whispering that the
vehicle had stopped. Then she heard
gunshots. The woman later found her
husband’s body at a mortuary with
three gunshot wounds, one to the
stomach and two in the chest, the
report said.
Amnesty said it has “evidence of mass
extrajudicial executions by security
forces,’’ including at least 60 people
killed at a May 30 rally in Onitsha to
commemorate the 1967-1970 civil war
to create a Biafran state for the Igbo
people. One million people died in that
war.
Usman accused the secessionists of
targeting other tribes in “a reign of
hate, terror and ethno-religious
controversies ... (threatening) national
security.”

Protests increase

Protests have increased, along with
military violence, since the October
2015 arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, a leader
of the Indigenous People of Biafra, who
has broadcast incendiary statements in
southeast Nigeria through the group’s
London-based clandestine Radio
Biafra.
Amnesty said that Nigeria’s President
Muhammadu Buhari has promised to
investigate but done nothing about its
previous reports documenting the
December 2015 military killings of
more than 300 Shiites and the deaths in
military detention of some 8,000 people
in the war to curb Boko Haram’s
Islamic.

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