[GRAPHIC CONTENT]: Amnesty Released Evidence To Probe Senior Nigerian Military Officers For War Crimes; Including Alex Badeh, Ihejirika, Others

via Amnesty International:

In the course of security operations against Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria, Nigerian military forces have extrajudicially executed more than 1,200 people; they have arbitrarily arrested at least 20,000 people, mostly young men and boys; they have committed countless acts of torture; hundreds, if not thousands, of Nigerians have become victims of enforced disappearance; and at least 7,000 people have died in military detention as a result of starvation, extreme overcrowding and denial of medical assistance. Amnesty International’s findings, presented in detail below, show that these acts were committed deliberately or recklessly and thus constitute war crimes in the context of a noninternational armed conflict. 


Commanders who gave orders or directly oversaw the commission of these crimes as well as military personnel who carried them out bear individual responsibility for these acts. Based on interviews with high-ranking military officers and analysis of military documents, Amnesty International believes that the top military commanders, including those who have held the positions of the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of Army Staff from 2010 to date, had knowledge of the ongoing violations and failed to take measures to stop or prevent them, and so should be investigated for their command responsibility for these crimes. The names of the military officers and specific evidence suggesting their individual or command responsibility for these crimes are presented below.

Amnesty International believes that the following military officers should be investigated for potential individual or command responsibility for the war crimes of murder, enforced disappearance and torture detailed in this report:
  • Major General John A.H. Ewansiha. He was General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Operation Restore Order I (ORO) and Operation BOYONA between January 2012 and August 2013. As GOC of ORO and Operation BOYONA, he was informed about the arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention of thousands of people in inhumane conditions, the deaths in custody of large numbers of detainees and extrajudicial executions in areas under his command in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. He received regular reports indicating the commission of these crimes by his subordinates and failed to take measures to stop and prevent them or to bring those responsible to account. In August 2013, he became Chief of Standards and Evaluation at Army Headquarters and Chief of Training and Operations at Army Headquarters.
  • Major General Obida T Ethnan. He was Commander of 7 Division from 22 August 2013 until 1 January 2014. Major General Ethnan took over the command of the military operations in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states in August 2013 from Major General Ewansiha. During this period, Amnesty International continued to document arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention of thousands of people in inhumane conditions, the deaths in custody of large numbers of detainees and extrajudicial executions committed by Nigerian troops under his command.

  • Major General Ahmadu Mohammed. He was Commander of 7 Division from 24 February until 16 May 2014. During this period, Amnesty International continued to document arbitrary arrests and unlawful detention of thousands of people in inhumane conditions, the deaths in custody of large numbers of detainees and extrajudicial executions committed by Nigerian troops under his command. In addition, Major General Ahmadu Mohammed was in charge of military operations when, in the aftermath of a Boko Haram attack on Giwa Barracks, Nigerian military executed more than 640 former detainees.

  • Brigadier General Austin O. Edokpayi. He was in command of the Multinational Joint Task Force based in Baga from at least April 2013 until December 2013 where Nigerian soldiers were responsible for arbitrary arrests and unlawful Stars on their shoulders. Blood on their hands. War crimes committed by the Nigerian military. Amnesty International June 2015 Index: AFR44/1657/2015 94 detention, the extrajudicial executions of more than 185 people in April 2013, and deaths in custody in Baga detention facility.

  • Brigadier General Rufus O. Bamigboye. He was Commander of the 21 Armoured Brigade, stationed in Giwa barracks from February 2012 till September 2013. He was in charge of the barracks during the period when at least 5,000 detainees died in custody, and when torture and ill-treatment were used routinely. In December 2013, he was promoted to Deputy Director of Operations at Defence Headquarters.

In addition, Amnesty International believes that the following high-level military commanders should be investigated for their potential command responsibility for crimes committed by their subordinates given that they knew or should have known about the commission of the crimes, and failed to take adequate action:
  • Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika. He was Chief of Army Staff from September 2010 until he retired in January 2014.
  • Admiral Ola Sa'ad Ibrahim. He was Chief of Defence Staff from 4 October 2012 until 16 January 2014.
  • Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh. He was Chief of Defence Staff from 16 January 2014 to time of writing.
  • Lt. General Ken Minimah. He was Chief of Army Staff from 16 January 2014 to time of writing.

EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS

Amnesty International has documented 27 incidents when the Nigerian military extrajudicially executed civilians in 2013 and 2014. In 14 of these incidents, Nigerian military forces, sometimes in collaboration with Civilian JTF members, executed a large number of victims, at times dozens or even hundreds in one day. The precise number of extrajudicial executions is impossible to verify due to the lack of records, cover-up efforts by the military, and the difficulty of reaching witnesses in the areas where the crimes were committed. The cases set out below document the killings of more than 1200 people in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. The actual number of killings is likely to be significantly higher: scores of witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International – including relatives of victims, eyewitnesses, human rights defenders, local officials, lawyers and military officers – witnessed, recorded or were aware of extrajudicial executions but were not able to provide sufficient details for the cases to be included in this report. 

In particular, after the Nigerian military recaptured territory in 2015, Amnesty International received an increased number of reports of extrajudicial executions of suspected Boko Haram members. In Bama, for example, after the military took over in March 2015, several Civilian JTF members and residents told Amnesty International that the military shot and killed Stars on their shoulders. Blood on their hands. War crimes committed by the Nigerian military Index: AFR44/1657/2015 Amnesty International June 2015 41 everyone who was not cleared by the Civilian JTF as a resident.89 A senior military source who monitored the developments told Amnesty International: “Once the military recaptures a town, no young man should stay around. Because they will kill them straight away.”90 This needs to be further investigated. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people arrested by the Nigerian military have been missing for months and even years. Some are probably held in unauthorized, unacknowledged detention. 

Many others are feared dead. Amnesty International’s research shows that extrajudicial executions of Boko Haram suspects were a routine practice for the Nigerian military. The killing of more than 640 detainees who fled following the Boko Haram attack on Giwa barracks in Maiduguri on 14 March 2014 has been widely exposed in the media while the number of victims was smaller in other cases. Cases documented below demonstrate that the military killed people after they had been captured and presented no danger. Many were shot dead inside detention facilities, while others were either shot or had their throats cut right after being captured during cordon-andsearch operations.

One military official with specific knowledge about Giwa Barracks told Amnesty International: “In Giwa barracks they were fumigating [the cells] for cockroaches and bed bugs... Many Boko Haram suspects died as a result of the fumigation. They fumigated with the chemicals you use for killing mosquitoes. It is something very powerful. It is very dangerous.” He said the practice only ended in March 2014, after the barracks had been attacked and there were fewer than 100 detainees left. Former detainees told Amnesty International that this fumigation was carried out when the detainees were outside the cells for 30 minutes, for instance when collecting their breakfast. They said the chemicals smelled very strong, and some detainees started feeling sick immediately upon return to their cells. The bodies of detainees who died in Giwa barracks were taken to the two mortuaries in Maiduguri: State Specialist Hospital and University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital mortuaries. From there, BOSEPA (Borno State Environmental Protection Agency) personnel take the bodies in garbage trucks for burial in unmarked mass graves in the Gwange cemetery and other locations in Maiduguri, such as Baga Road. 

The vast majority of people who died in military custody since 2011 have been buried in mass graves. In the past, the few relatives who knew their loved one had died, came to collect the corpses from the mortuaries, but this stopped in early 2013 after soldiers were posted in the mortuaries. Hospital staff told Amnesty International that the soldiers insisted that relatives who came to collect bodies must sign a form stating that the deceased was a Boko Haram member. They said most relatives were too scared to come to the mortuary.

All hospital and BOSEPA staff interviewed by Amnesty International said the military had threatened and instructed them not to ask questions. A man involved in the burials told Amnesty International: “We are given strict warnings by the military and our bosses not to ever try identify dead bodies of the unknown [detainees], even if we know them. Even if they are our families. I’ve buried many people I know in this town, among the unknown corpses.”




















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