Amnesty International investigates how Nigerian security forces killed 150 Biafra protesters

By Charles Opara

Amnesty International (AI) has released a new report detailing how extrajudicial executions and torture by Nigerian security forces, particularly the Nigerian Army, resulted in the deaths of at least 150 Biafra protesters across Nigeria’s south-east.

The report, titled “Bullets Were Raining Everywhere”: Deadly Repression of Biafra Activists, was released on Thursday and was based on an analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs, and 146 eyewitness testimonies that revealed Nigerian military soldiers firing live ammunition to disperse protesters, the majority of whom were members of the separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), without warning.

According to AI, at least 60 defenseless IPOB protesters were shot dead within two days of the May 30 Biafra Remembrance Day.

Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB (Indigenous Peoples of Biafra) seeks to

the restoration of the Republic of Biafra as a separate sovereign state from Nigeria Biafra was a secessionist state in Nigeria’s south-east that existed from May 30, 1967 to January 1970. The main cause of the Nigeria Civil War was Biafra’s secession. The war claimed the lives of over a million people.

On October 14, Mr. Kanu was arrested. Since his arrest, there has been an increase in the agitation of Biafra activists.

President Muhammadu Buhari is vehemently opposed to the formation of Biafra. During a visit to the palace of the Emir of Katsina, Mr. Buhari suggested that it would be better for Nigerians to commit mass suicide than for the breakaway state of Biafra to be realized.

“We will not allow that to happen.”

“It is better for all of us to jump into the sea and drown now than for Nigeria to divide,” he said.

Extrajudicial Executions

According to the Amnesty International report, the most IPOB members were killed during the last Biafra Remembrance Day. According to the report, as over 1,000 members of the group gathered for a rally in Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigerian security forces raided their homes and a church where they were sleeping.

( Mr. Buhari suggested that it is preferable for Nigerians to commit mass suicide than for the breakaway state of Biafra to become a reality).

“On Remembrance Day, security forces shot people in a number of locations.” Amnesty International was unable to confirm the exact number of extrajudicial executions, but estimates that at least 60 people were killed and 70 were injured over the course of two days. The true figure is most likely to be

higher,” the organization revealed in a statement released in conjunction with the report.

AI spoke to a woman simply identified as Ngozi, the 28-year-old wife of one of IPOB’s slain members, who recounted some of the day’s chilling incidents.

Ngozi told AI that her husband called her shortly after leaving for work in the morning to tell her that soldiers had shot him in the abdomen. He claimed to be in a military vehicle with six other people, four of whom were already dead.

“He began whispering and stated that they had just stopped [the vehicle].” He was afraid they’d kill the three of them who were still alive… He took a breather and told me they were getting closer. I heard gunshots but no explosions.

“I’ll get back to you on that.”

Ngozi discovered her husband’s body in a nearby mortuary the next day after searching for him. The mortuary attendants informed her that the military had brought him and six others. She stated that he had three gunshot wounds, one in his abdomen and two in his chest, confirming that he had been executed by the military.

Similarly, Chukwuemeka, a 25-year-old trader, told AI that he was shot and taken to the barracks alongside corpses.

“They dumped us next to a pit on the ground.” There were two soldiers standing next to the pit. The pit was enormous, and it contained a large number of dead people. I have no idea how many people are buried…. We were dumped on the beach.

ground.”

He claimed to have escaped and hidden in the bushes.

According to the organization, it reviewed videos of a peaceful gathering of IPOB members on February 9 at Aba National High School. Without warning, the Nigerian military surrounded the group and opened fire on everyone in sight.

Many of the protesters were then apprehended and detained. Four days later, 13 bodies, including some of the men kidnapped, were discovered near the Aba Highway.

According to AI, the military transported the bodies of those killed and injured in Onitsha and Asaba to the Onitsha military barracks. Soldiers are seen in video footage loading dead and injured people into their Hilux van.

“At first, when they were still dumping corpses, I could see 10 of them.”

to 12 deafeningly deafeningly deafening It was early in the morning. There were more in the evening, but I couldn’t estimate how many.” According to a man who was detained in the barracks and witnessed the corpses being dumped in front of the military mortuary.

Torture

The report also revealed the disturbing use of widespread torture and ill-treatment of military detainees.

Vincent Ogbodo, a 26-year-old trader, said he was shot and hid in a gutter on March 20, 2022 in Nkpor. He claimed that when soldiers discovered him, they poured acid on him.

“I shielded my face. I’d be deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly de He spat acid on my hands. My hands and body began to burn. The flesh was on fire… They dragged me out of the scum. They predicted that I would die gradually.”

According to a man detained at the Onitsha Barracks, “those in the jail were flogged every morning.” “Morning Tea,” the soldiers labeled it.”

“This lethal repression of Biafra activists is escalating tensions in the south east.”

Nigerian. This reckless and trigger-happy approach to crowd control has resulted in at least 150 deaths, and we fear the true figure is much higher,” said Makmid Kamara, Interim Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

“The Nigerian government’s decision to send in the military in response to the events in Biafra appears to be largely to blame for this excessive bloodshed.” The authorities must launch an impartial investigation right away and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

“It’s heartbreaking to see how these soldiers gunned down peaceful IPOB members.” Mr. Kamara stated, “The video evidence shows that this was a military operation with the intent to kill and injure.”

According to AI, the majority of IPOB protests have been peaceful. However, it was added that on occasion, protesters hurled objects at the police.

Stones were thrown, tyres were burned, and a police officer was shot in one case.

“Regardless,” AI stated, “these acts of violence and disorder did not justify the level of force used against the entire assembly.”

According to AI, despite overwhelming evidence of extrajudicial killings and torture of protesters, Nigerian authorities have taken no action to investigate or punish perpetrators.

It stated that the military’s lack of accountability for human rights violations is similar to documented cases in other parts of the country, particularly in the country’s north-east region, where Boko Haram slaughters Biafrans like animals.

“Amnesty International has repeatedly urged Nigeria’s government to launch independent investigations into evidence of crimes under international law, and President Buhari has refused to do so.”

Buhari has repeatedly refused to investigate Amnesty International’s reports. “However,” Mr. Kamara stated.

According to AI, the “Nigerian government must ensure adequate reparations for the victims, including the victims’ families.” They should prohibit the use of military forces in policing demonstrations and ensure that police officers are properly instructed, trained, and equipped to deal with crowd-control situations in accordance with international law and standards. “Firearms, in particular, must never be used as a tool for crowd control.”

Denial by the Army

Meanwhile, in an effort to counter the planned release of AI’s report on Thursday, the Nigerian army issued a statement on Wednesday evening denying that soldiers killed and tortured defenseless Biafra agitators.

“Evidence of MASSOB/IPOB violent secessionist agitation is widely known throughout the national community.”