Friday, 12 August 2011

Nigeria's army to investigate human rights abuses

Nigeria's army has been instructed to investigate alleged human rights abuses by soldiers fighting Boko Haram. Nigeria's Defence Minister Bello Mohammed called for an investigation after a woman was shot dead on Wednesday 10th August in clashes between soldiers and suspected members of the Islamist sect.

A number of human rights groups have accused the army of abusing and killing civilians. The violence in and around Maiduguri has intensified in recent months, causing thousands of people to leave their homes.

Mohammed said the army was "doing a very good job" in protecting the people throughout Borno state. He added: “However, a few bad eggs amongst them sometimes overreact to situations and create discontent amongst the civilian population thereby dragging the name of the military to disrepute."

Speaking after a woman was killed during riots in Born State, Mohammed asked the army to "investigate all incidents of military misconduct against law abiding citizens".

Last month, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima admitted that the army had been guilty of excesses in Maiduguri.

Next week a committee is due to report back to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan on the security situation in Borno State and the prospects for opening negotiations with Boko Haram.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, WSJ, AFP

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