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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Amnesty International - Nigerian security agents killed 150 IPOB members

Amnesty International accused Nigerian security forces on Thursday of killing at least 150 peaceful advocates of Biafra’s secession from country, but the military and police dismissed the allegations.

An army spokesman said Amnesty’s statement, the latest in a series of allegations of impropriety levelled against Nigeria’s military in the last year, aimed to tarnish the security forces’ reputation. The police said its officers did not attack people holding demonstrations.
Amnesty said the military fired live ammunition, with little or no warning, to disperse members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group between August 2015 and August 2016.
Its 60-page report based on interviews with 193 people, 87 videos and 122 photographs from that period also said troops and the police used “arbitrary, abusive and excessive force to disrupt gatherings.”
Secessionist feeling has simmered in the southeast since the Biafra separatist rebellion tipped Nigeria into a 1967-1970 civil war that killed an estimated one million people, Reuters reported.
It flared up again last year after IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu was detained on charges of criminal conspiracy and belonging to an illegal society.
That prompted supporters of Kanu to hold protests that Amnesty said were dispersed with live ammunition.
The army spokesman, Sani Usman, said Biafra separatists had behaved violently, killing five policeman at a protest in May and attacking both military and police vehicles.
“The military and other security agencies exercised maximum restraints despite the flurry of provocative and unjustifiable violence,” Usman told Reuters.
Nigeria Police Force spokesman, Don Awunah, said officers “always abide by the law” and adhere to best practices.
“We don’t attack people who are demonstrating, which every Nigerian has a right to do,” he said.

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