Amnesty International reports hundred plus Nigeria deaths

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Security forces killed at least 115 people in south-east Nigeria this year and arbitrarily arrested or tortured scores of others in response to violence from separatists agitating for autonomy, Amnesty International said.

A Nigerian presidency spokesman declined to comment on information in an Amnesty report.

The report cited eyewitness accounts of “excessive use of force, physical abuse, secret detentions, extortion and extrajudicial executions of suspects” in response to attacks and killings government blames on banned separatist group the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network.

“Evidence gathered by Amnesty International paints a damning picture of ruthless excessive force by Nigerian security forces in Imo, Anambra and Abia states,” said Osai Ojigho, country director for Amnesty International.

Some in the south-east agitated for independence in the Igbo ethnic group homeland for years. An attempt to secede in 1967 sparked a three-year civil war that killed more than a million.

This year, armed attackers killed security operatives, razed police stations and attacked electoral offices.

In June, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari warned those who promote secession faced a “rude shock” and government would “treat them in the language they understand.”

Twitter removed the post violating its abusive behaviour policy. It raised fears of a crackdown on rising violence .

Amnesty documented at least 115 killings by security forces between March and June 2021 and 500 arrests after police and military raids.

Relatives of some killed said they were not part of militant groups, Amnesty said. It further documented two businessmen, Uguchi Unachukwu and Mathew Opara, killed in May with “no apparent justification.”

Amnesty called for an “impartial and open” inquiry into the violence.

Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB’s current leader, was arrested abroad earlier this year and brought back to Nigeria to face 11 charges, including treason.