Nigeria’s security forces have been accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during its fight against Islamist insurgency Boko Haram.
A new report released by Amnesty International on Thursday reveals how the crimes were perpetrated for years and have continued despite a presidential inquiry established last August.
In some cases, the abuse appears to be part of a pattern of persecution of anyone perceived to have a connection to Boko Haram.
Instead of receiving protection from the authorities, women and girls have been forced to succumb to rape in order to avoid starvation or hunger
According to Amnesty’s report, interviewees “said that when the military conducted operations in their villages, they burnt down homes and opened fire at remaining residents indiscriminately.”
“It is absolutely shocking that people who had already suffered so much under Boko Haram have been condemned to further horrendous abuse by the Nigerian military,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
The human rights watchdog has accused Nigerian security forces of raping thousands of women and girls at the Internally Displaced Persons camps in the country.
“Instead of receiving protection from the authorities, women and girls have been forced to succumb to rape in order to avoid starvation or hunger,” added Ojigho.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters has accused Amnesty International of planning to destabilize the country. The military had announced on Wednesday that it received credible intelligence report of a plan by the human rights body to release what it calls a false report.
“The Defence Headquarters therefore, urge all law abiding citizens to continue to trust and support the military in the ongoing war against Boko Haram and go about their normal lawful business,” read an extract from the military statement.
Nigeria has waged a nine-year war against Boko Haram. Over 2 million people have been displaced and thousands have been killed.