Boko Haram remains a deadly threat in the region despite military advances
· At least 1,600 civilians killed by Boko Haram in last 4 months
· More than 3,500 civilians killed by Boko Haram in 2015
· Nigeria yet to investigate military abuses
· Almost 400 civilians and dozens of security personnel killed by Boko Haram in Cameroon since January 2014
Despite advances by the military, attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have claimed the lives of at least 1,600 people since the start of June, bringing the death toll to at least 3,500 civilians in 2015 alone, said Amnesty International as the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) discusses a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on the conflict.
Netsanet Belay, Amnesty's Africa Director for Research and Advocacy, said:
“The number of people killed so far this year is truly shocking with more than 3,500 civilian fatalities in less than 300 days. Governments in affected countries must take all necessary legal measures to ensure the security of civilians in affected areas.”
Today, as the UNHRC discusses violations and abuses committed in the context of the conflict, Amnesty is renewing its call for adequate protection of civilians from Boko Haram attacks.
Amnesty is also calling for urgent and thorough investigations of serious human rights violations committed by their security forces. Following the publication of an Amnesty report on 3 June, President Buhari pledged to investigate evidence that Nigerian military forces have committed serious human rights violations, war crimes and acts which may constitute crimes against humanity. To date, no investigation has begun.
Netsanet Belay said:
“It is nearly four months to the day since President Buhari vowed to investigate the serious crimes under international law which Amnesty International highlighted in its report. Thousands of victims are still waiting for justice. President Buhari and his new cabinet must take urgent action to rigorously investigate all crimes under international law committed by both Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces.”
Similarly, in Cameroon crimes under international law and human rights violations have been committed by both Boko Haram and the state security forces. Such crimes have not been investigated effectively. Amnesty calls on the government of Cameroon to urgently initiate thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigations into crimes under international law committed by all parties to the conflict in Cameroon.