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Amnesty condemns reinstatement of Nigeria general accused of war crimes

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Monday condemned [press release] the reinstatement of Nigeria's senior military general, Major General Ahmadu Mohammed, who is alleged to have actively participated in the mass murder of hundreds of detainees at the Giwa barracks detention center in March 2014. The major general was said to be in charge of the 7 Division and was in command of operations when the military executed more than 640 detainees following a Boko Haram attack on the center. Last June, following the release of an AI investigative report [AI report] into war crimes, Nigeria President Muhammad Buhari [BBC profile] had immediately assured that "no stone will be left unturned" in its investigation into these allegations. This reinstatement comes seven months after such an assurance, prompting AI to state that, "[i]t is unthinkable that Major General Muhammed could resume command of troops before an investigation has even begun" and that the reinstatement "underlines the monumental failure of the government to stamp out impunity for war crimes at the highest level."

AI had previously named the major general along with eight other senior military commanders in June as potentially criminally responsible for their role in war crimes including the deaths of approximately 8,000 other detainees. AI's investigation indicated [AI report] that more than 7,000 people, including young boys, were starved, suffocated and tortured to death in military detention camps since March 2011, while another 1,200 were rounded up and unlawfully executed. AI had then stated that the military's actions at the detention camps are part of a "witch hunt" in an effort to locate and fight members of Boko Haram, who threaten the security of the nation. Boko Haram [JURIST news archive], which means "Western education is a sin," has been fighting to overthrow the Nigerian government in the interest of creating an Islamist state. Last May the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, reported that Boko Haram militants in Nigeria have been murdering women and girls [JURIST report] previously taken captive by the group. At the end of March Nigeria held its presidential and gubernatorial elections in spite of violent attacks directed towards voters [JURIST report] by Boko Haram.

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