US Senator Labels Nigerian Soldiers Fighting Boko Haram “Murderers And Rapists”

Patrick-LeahySenator Patrick Leahy – sponsor of the Leahy Law that prohibits the US Department of State and Department of Defence from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity – believes that President Muhammadu Buhari’s opinion of the effect of the law on the war against Boko Haram is “misdirected”.
Speaking at the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) on Wednesday during his four day working visit on the invitation of President Barack Obama, Buhari had lamented that the Leahy Law “aided and abetted” the campaign of bloodletting of Boko Haram, urging the US government to review it so that it could provide the needed assistance to Nigeria to crush Boko Haram.
“In our efforts at combating the activities of Boko Haram, the new government has sought and obtained the support of not only our neighbours other international friends and partners. Regrettably, the blanket application of the Leahy Law by the United States on the grounds of unproven allegations of human rights violations levelled against our forces has denied us access to appropriate strategic weapons to prosecute the war against the insurgents”, Buhari was quoted as saying.
But the U.S Senator said neither he nor the law could be blamed for the atrocities committed by the “murderers and rapists in the Nigerian military”.
“It is well-documented by the State Department and by respected human rights organisations that Nigerian army personnel have, for many years, engaged in a pattern and practice of gross violations of human rights against the Nigerian people and others, including summary executions of prisoners, indiscriminate attacks against civilians, torture, forced disappearances and rape. Rarely have the perpetrators been prosecuted or punished”, he said
“This abusive conduct not only violates the laws of war, it creates fear and loathing among the Nigerian people whose support is necessary to defeat a terrorist group like Boko Haram.
“President Buhari ignores the undisputed fact that most Nigerian army units have been approved, under the Leahy Law, for U.S. training and equipment. Only those particular units against which there is credible evidence of the most heinous crimes are ineligible for U.S. aid. And even those units can again become eligible if the Nigerian Government takes effective steps to bring the responsible individuals to justice.
“I strongly agree with President Buhari about the need to defeat Boko Haram, and I have supported tens of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Nigeria for that purpose. But rather than suggest that the United States is at fault for not funding murderers and rapists in the Nigerian military, he should face up to his own responsibility to effectively counter Boko Haram. He should direct his attention to the Nigerian military, and the Nigerian courts, and clean up the units implicated in such atrocities”.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here