Nigeria: Amnesty rejects false military claims against Giwa Barracks report

  • Report findings shared with Nigerian authorities in advance
  • Amnesty International never granted access to barracks    
  • Evidence in the report incontrovertible

We have to do it.” President Buhari’s acknowledgment that Amnesty’s findings must be investigated is welcome
 
The claim by Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar that Amnesty International was granted access to Giwa barracks detention centre and that it had “accessed the facilities” is completely false.

Amnesty has repeatedly requested access to the detention centre and it has never been granted.

The most recent request was made during a meeting with the Chief of Army Staff in February of this year. This was followed up with written requests to the Attorney General, National Security Advisor, Chief of Defence and, most recently, by letter to the Chief of Army Staff on 3 March. No response has been received.

No member of Amnesty staff has ever been granted access or has been inside the barracks.
Amnesty remains extremely keen to visit Giwa barracks and would very much welcome an invitation granting our researchers permission to do so.

Asked whether he will “step up the investigation” into conditions in Giwa barracks, President Buhari told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on 12 May, “We have to do it.”  

Amnesty is calling on President Buhari to waste no more time before launching an urgent investigation into deaths in detention and to shut down Giwa barracks detention centre without delay.

The military said that Amnesty’s report came as a “surprise and shock” to them despite the fact that Amnesty had shared its preliminary findings with the authorities and had requested a response before publishing its report.

Amnesty wrote to the Chief of Army Staff on 12 April 2016, requesting a response to its evidence and further information on deaths in detention.

Last month, (20 April) the Chief of Army Staff replied, directing Amnesty to the office of the Attorney General. There was no response to the evidence raised in the letter. Amnesty wrote to the Attorney General and the Chief of Defence Staff on 27 April. Amnesty only received a letter of acknowledgment from the office of the Attorney General today after the publication of the report.

Amnesty also rejects the dismissal of its findings by the military as “completely baseless, unfounded and source-less”. The briefing is based on verified witness accounts, including 15 interviews, conducted in 2016 by phone with former detainees, their relatives, eyewitnesses, human rights activists, and medical professionals.
 
Background

For a copy of the report, “If you see it, you will cry: Life and death in Giwa barracks visit https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/05/nigeria-babies-and-child…

For photos and satellite images visit: https://amnesty.box.com/s/3g27l903xwlxnnh7x62z3srivgr6a0zo

For the military press release “Military Debunks Amnesty Report on Detainees in Giwa barracks” (12/5/16) visit https://prnigeria.com/2016/05/military-debunks-amnesty-report-detainees…

Amnesty received 17 photos and videos showing bodies of detainees deposited at a mortuary by soldiers from Giwa barracks. These were analysed by Amnesty International staff and an independent forensics expert. Amnesty International requested and analysed available satellite images of Giwa barracks and Gwange cemetery to corroborate witness testimony.

The briefing builds on years of research on the situation in north-east Nigeria conducted through regular visits to Maiduguri and the region.
 

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