Nigeria 08 Jul 2015 00:00
At the moment when the world is focusing its attention on reporting on Boko Haram atrocities, the Nigerian army in its bid to fight insurgency on its soil was accused of committing human right abuses.
Amnesty International has report evidence of human right abuses perpetrated by the Nigerian Army in the North Eastern part of Nigeria with proof based on dozens of military documents, interviews with victims and eyewitnesses.
However the Nigerian Army has since denied the authenticity of the report through the Chief of Administration of Nigeria Army, Major General Adamu Baba Abubakar who said they have commenced investigation into Amnesty International’s allegations against them saying the allegations against the Nigerian troops can dampen the spirit and morale of troops.
Major-General Adamu also accused Amnesty International of not cooperating with the Nigerian Army in the investigation saying the Nigerian military is a conventional and professional military that is driven by international standards and best practices.
Meanwhile the people living in villages around Jos in North Eastern Nigeria are not buying the military’s version of the story as they have been crying out over what they termed as unfair harassment and brutal treatment by the army sent for peace keeping in the volatile area.
The villages in the North Eastern part of Nigeria close to Jos City have been a battle ground with an average of 10 people murdered weekly by what security operatives called 'unknown gunmen' who many suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents running from the Nigerian Army in the north east and looking for a more peaceful settlement like the north central region.
The villagers have been raising alarm over the influx of strangers in the area which makes many to flee from their ancestral homes. The Gunmen killed and sacked dozens of villages rendering thousands homeless (at the moment it is dangerous to go in and film the destruction in the interior).
The Army is stationed in those villages but the attacks were going on unabated which makes the villagers to be suspicious of the army and accuse them of complicity in the attacks.
Whenever there was an attack on any village in the area and the villagers demand to know why they were been attacked with the army around instead they will be harassed, beaten, threatened to be arrested and sometimes shot at by the military without explanation.
Things went out of hand on the 17th of June last month in the village of Heipang about 20kms from Jos city when women protesting the army stationing their armored tank close to where the women displayed their ware for sale by the roadside as that will scared customers were shot at directly by the soldiers, two women were hit by bullets and died on the spot, one was shot at with a baby on her back as she ran into a shop for protection.
First week of this month, for three days, the army came to the village around Foron about 35 kms to Jos in Hilux trucks and armored tanks breaking into the houses of the villagers who fled on seeing the soldiers, destroying properties and even killing animals, despites the villagers demand for explanation, they refused to explain what they were looking for and ruled out any compensation.
The Army also refused to be interviewed on tape instead they accused the villagers of attacking soldiers which they said is what led to the house to house assault and refused to also produce evidence supporting the statement on attacks on their men.