Hinging its report on a documentary, which it said will be broadcast tonight, the paper reported yesterday that human rights investigators believe that 4,000 people have died in military custody since the Boko Haram insurgency began in Nigeria two years ago.
According to the report, while Nigeria is currently Africa’s biggest economy, in the North which serves as home to most of the nation’s 80 million Muslims and hotbed of the extremist sect, the people are among the poorest in the country.
It noted that the Boko Haram sect had killed more than 2,000 people this year alone, most of them civilians.
It further stated that the Nigerian Army took control of local militias, young Muslim men, who had gathered together to help identify Boko Haram members living among the civilian population, adding that President Goodluck Jonathan hailed this militia as “new national heroes”.
The report further alleges: “The militias armed themselves with machetes, cutlasses and even bows and arrows. They adopted the official title “Civilian Joint Taskforce”.
According to the newspaper, in their hunt for fleeing insurgents, the civilian JTF swept through remote towns and villages, even in communities where they had little local knowledge.
“The militia used these tactics in a town called Dikwa, around the start of Ramadan 2013 and filmed some of their operations. The videos show the militia acting as if everyone was a potential terrorist”, the report said.
It further stated that “other videos suggest little hard evidence was used to identify Boko Haram suspects.
“Instead they denounced individuals on the basis of bizarre clues: thorns in the sandals from being in the bush; bruises supposedly caused by carrying guns or even a suspicious expression”.
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