President Muhammadu Buhari must investigate reports of human rights abuse by soldiers prosecuting the war against Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria’s north, United Nations’ top human rights official Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein said on Friday.
“Civilians in northeast Nigeria have been living through horrifying acts of cruelty and violence by Boko Haram. These include wanton killings, summary executions, forced participation in military operations – including the use of children to detonate bombs, forced labour, forced marriage and sexual violence, including rape,” Zeid said in a statement.
Citing eyewitness testimony gathered by his office on atrocities committed by Boko Haram, Buhari said: “We have reports of children who were suspected of theft and had their hands amputated, of a man stoned to death on accusations of fornication, mass executions of captives whose hands and legs were bound and who were dumped into rivers and wells.”
Zeid, referring to “extremely worrying reports” that had emerged about the conduct of Nigerian armed forces, said one man testified about his ordeal when he was mistaken for a Boko Haram member and detained by the military in Yola in Adamawa.
“The man said he spent five days without food or water, as detainees drank the urine of others to quench their thirst. He claimed that there was an average of five deaths per day in the facility,” he said.
The Defence Headquarters dismissed the allegations as blackmail. President Buhari promised that the matter would be investigated.