Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Videos document gruesome abuse by Nigerian military in it's fight against Boko Haram

Dozens of gruesome videos appear to show horrifying abuses by Nigerian security forces and state-sponsored militias as part of a battle against the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. The existence of the videos was revealed in "Hunting Boko Haram," a new documentary by PBS Frontline.

Desperate to combat the rise of Boko Haram, Nigerian authorities launched a massive crackdown against the group in 2009 called "Operation Flush." Human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have long accused security forces of committing massive human rights violations during the operation, including kidnappings, torture, extrajudicial killings and the arrests and murders of countless of civilians with no ties to the insurgent group.

The grainy videos obtained by Evan Williams for PBS Frontline appear to document some of these abuses. According to a militiaman who said he took part in some of the killings and ferried dozens of bodies to a morgue in northeast Nigeria , he and his colleagues were trained by Nigerian security forces.

Williams also spoke with several civilians in Nigeria’s northeast who said their brothers, fathers, sons or neighbors disappeared after being taken by militiamen or government forces during operations against Boko Haram. They said that many of the prisoners never returned and had no connections to Boko Haram.

Former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell says in the documentary that the videos confirm reports of abuses that have been circulating for years.

Huffington Post

Related stories: Video - The state of Nigerian governance and Boko Haram

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