Amnesty International: Nigeria Forces Kill 150 Pro-Biafra Protesters
A Human Rights group has claimed that Security Forces in Nigeria have killed over 150 protesters since August 2015.
According to Amnesty International, the Nigerian military has used deadly force and live ammunition against pro-Biafra protesters in the Southeast who are calling for an independent state.
The Nigerian police have denied the allegations that unnecessary force was used.
According to the country and its Army, Amnesty International is trying to damage its reputation.
The reports from Amnesty International are based on interviews of about 200 individuals, in addition to 87 videos and over 100 pictures.
The report includes allegations of “extrajudicial executions” involving 60 protesters killed in a shooting in the Southeast city of Onitsha during two days in May celebrating Biafra Remembrance Day.
Amnesty International interim director for Nigeria Makmid Kamara said, “This reckless and trigger-happy approach to crowd control has caused at least 150 deaths, and we fear the actual total might be far higher.”
A 26-year-old man who was a victim shot in Nkpor reported that he was found by soldiers who poured acid on him and said to him that he should expect a slow death.
A woman reported speaking with her husband on a mobile phone. As he told her that someone had shot him in the stomach, she could hear gunfire in the background. Later, she discovered his body at the morgue and he had two additional chest wounds, making her believe he had been shot following the phone call.
Amnesty International said that Biafra protests we’re peaceful, in spite of the periodic instances during which some protesters would throw stones and burn tires. In one instance, someone shot at authorities.
“Regardless, these acts of violence and disorder did not justify the level of force used against the whole assembly.”
Army spokesman Sani Usman said that “the military and other security agencies exercise maximum restraint despite the flurry of provocative and unjustifiable violence.”
The two leading separatists organizations in Nigeria’s Southeast, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra have engaged in “unimaginable atrocities,” he continued.
Usman added that they have killed and burned individuals from different parts of the country and have forced them to run away.
During the past year protesters have demanded on several occasions that a Biafra State be created, where Igbo people live in the southeast.
Since October 2015, IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu has been in police custody. Requests for his release have been denied by the Nigerian government.
The topic of Biafra continues to be a divisive one in Nigeria as it evokes remembrance of a dark chapter in the country’s history.