Amnesty: nearly 150 dead in Nigeria military detention News
Amnesty: nearly 150 dead in Nigeria military detention

Nearly 150 individuals, including 11 children, have died this year in Nigeria’s military detention barracks, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [text; press release] Wednesday. According to the report, the Giwa detention barracks detains around 1,200 people, many of whom were arbitrarily detained and are being held without evidence. The detainees are allegedly housed in dirty, overcrowded cells and struggle with starvation and dehydration. AI claims the overcrowding is “a consequence of a system of arbitrary mass arrest and detention” in the government’s fight against Boko Haram. Netsanet Belay, AI’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa, called for an immediate closure of the Giwa barracks. Nigeria’s military spokesman Rabe Abubakar rebutted the report, stating that Nigeria has made improvements to the barracks, and the reported conditions are overstated.

The militant Islamic group Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is a sin,” has been fighting to overthrow the Nigerian government in the interest of creating an Islamist state. In February UN human rights experts urged [JURIST report] the Nigerian government to guarantee the safety of areas liberated from Boko Haram. In November the UN Secretary-General condemned [JURIST report] yet another attack by Boko Haram in Nigeria that left 30 dead and approximately 80 injured. In April 2015 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein reported [JURIST report] that Boko Haram militants in Nigeria have been murdering women and girls previously taken captive by the group. The group has been increasing the intensity and frequency of its attacks [JURIST report] ever since it lost most of the territory it overtook earlier last year to the Nigerian army. Most of these attacks have centered around markets, bus stations, places of worship and hit-and-run attacks on villages.