Global human rights body, Amnesty International says not less than 115 persons from the South-East have been extrajudicially killed by Nigeria and security operatives between March and June.
There have been series of reports of extrajudicial execution by a combined team of soldiers and police in the South East, mostly in Imo and Abia states following attacks on police stations by gunmen suspected to be sympathetic to Biafra agitation in the region.
The report Nigerian security forces in response have committed a catalogue of human rights violations and crimes under international law in their response to spiralling violence in the region, which has included sweeping mass arrests, excessive and unlawful force, and torture and other ill-treatment.
Amnesty which gave the figures in its latest report, said relatives of the victims denied the deceased were part of the militants that were attacking security agents.
The report titled ,’Nigeria: At least 115 people killed by security forces in four months in country’s Southeast,’ also said many of the victims were deposited at government hospitals in Imo and Abia states.
Several hospital sources, who spoke to AI stressed that all the victims deposited by the police had bullet injuries.
The group also said more than 500 were arrested after police and military raids.
The report added that at least 21 personnel were killed in three months in Imo State.
The Country Director at Amnesty International, Osai Ojigho, stated that the evidence gathered by the organisation painted a damning picture of ruthless excessive force by security operatives in Imo, Anambra and Abia states.
“The evidence gathered by Amnesty International paints a damning picture of ruthless excessive force by Nigerian security forces in Imo, Anambra and Abia states,” she noted.
The report noted, “Nigeria’s government has responded with a heavy hand to killings and violence widely attributed to the armed group calling itself Eastern Security Network, the armed wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra, a pro-Biafra movement.
“According to government officials, the ESN killed dozens of security operatives and attacked at least ten public buildings, including prisons and police stations, from January to June. In response, security forces comprising military, police, and Department of State Services have killed dozens of gunmen, as well as civilians, where attacks have been committed.”
Eyewitnesses told AI that the security forces engaged in excessive use of force, physical abuse, secret detentions, extortion, burning of houses, theft, and extrajudicial executions of suspects.
The human rights groups estimated that the death toll from violence between January and June 2021 in Anambra, Imo, Abia, and Ebonyi states might run into the hundreds, adding that the police said ESN fighters killed 21 of its personnel in Imo State alone