Tag Archives: Amnesty

Amnesty says Nigerian military killed hundreds of minority Shiite Muslims

The Nigerian military is again under scrutiny for allegations that it carried out systematic killings of hundreds of civilians, following a similar report in March.

A new report by Amnesty International sheds light into the killings of some 350 minority Shiite Muslims – men, women, and children – in Zaria, a town in northern Nigeria. The human rights group released a report based on eyewitness accounts and satellite images detailing large-scale killings and a mass grave.

Between Dec. 12 and 14, 2015, the Nigerian Army clashed with members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) who had gathered for a religious meeting. Some of the IMN members were armed with batons, knives, and machetes, and closed a section of road in front of the IMN headquarters in Zaria, blocking the Army chief’s convoy. The military said they raided the city after the members of IMN attempted to assassinate the Army chief.

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The religious-political organization has denied that claim, saying they had armed themselves only in self defense. IMN is a major Shiite sect in Nigeria, where a majority of Muslims – who make up roughly half of the country’s 170 million population – are Sunni. IMN members have found themselves targeted by Boko Haram as it wages its war on the Northern part of the country.

“The true horror of what happened over those two days in Zaria is only now coming to light…. Our research, based on witness testimonies and analysis of satellite images, has located one possible mass grave. It is time now for the military to come clean and admit where it secretly buried hundreds of bodies,” wrote Netsanet Belay, Amnesty’s research and advocacy director for Africa.

Amnesty has previously accused the Army of targeting civilians during its war against terror group Boko Haram. The group’s reports, such as a March publication claiming that officers systematically killed hundreds of men and boys after a jailbreak during a Boko Haram attack, maintain that the Army’s treatment of civilians has been unlawful, which the Army denies.

“The massacre at Giwa and the failure to hold anyone to account for it is a stark reminder of the culture of impunity that exists for human rights violations in Nigeria,” Amnesty said in a statement accompanying the March report. “The horrific acts committed by Boko Haram must end and perpetrators of crimes under international law in its ranks must be punished. But their horrific acts cannot and should not be used to justify the Nigerian military’s unlawful conduct and human rights violations.”

The Nigerian government has been very critical of Amnesty’s reports, including the one that was released Friday. Defense spokesman Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar called Amnesty’s report “unfair,” saying that the military had not been consulted before its publication.

“The NGO should understand that Nigeria is a sovereign nation and it should be respected,” a military spokesman told The Guardian. “Already, a judicial inquiry is in place in addition to investigation by the National Human Rights Commission. The NGO’s hasty report – if true – is against the principles of the Amnesty International itself as it is pre-emptive and judgemental. They must allow the judicial commission of inquiry and all other relevant agencies to complete and submit their reports before jumping to conclusion.”

Amnesty warns against ‘brutal crackdown’ on protesters in Ethiopia

Anti-terror rhetoric by Ethiopia’s government could escalate into a brutal crackdown on protesters, human rights group Amnesty International has warned. A plan to expand the capital’s administrative control into the Oromia region has sparked deadly protests. The government has accused … read more

Swaziland: Deplorable sentences against journalist and lawyer stifle free speech

“With this sentence, Swaziland is sending the message that raising any concerns about judicial independence is out of bounds. It is a deplorable attack on freedom of expression in the country.” Deprose Muchena, Regional Director for Southern Africa at Amnesty … read more

Ethiopia: End the onslaught on dissent as arrests continue

The Ethiopian authorities are using a repressive Anti-Terror law as a pretext to crush dissent. © AFP/Getty Images

“ These latest detentions add to Ethiopia’s ever-increasing number of journalists, opposition members, activists and other dissenting voices locked up for alleged ‘terrorism’ offences” Claire Beston, Amnesty International’s Ethiopia Researcher The Ethiopian authorities must halt their continuing onslaught on dissent, … read more


Andargachew Tsige, an Ethiopian political activist in exile, appears to have been arrested in transit in Yemen on 24 June and forcibly returned to Ethiopia. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.   Document – Ethiopia: Ethiopian activist … read more

Sudan Bombing of Civilians May Be War Crime, Amnesty Says

Sudan: Satellite images of indiscriminate bombing reveal potential war crime in Southern Kordofan Sudan’s army may have committed a war crime in Southern Kordofan state by carrying out indiscriminate air strikes on civilians during its campaign against rebels, Amnesty International … read more

South Sudan: No Amnesty for Serious Crimes , hrw

Human Rights Watch Negotiations, Peace Agreement Should Ensure Justice (Nairobi) – South Sudan’s peace talks should proceed on the basis that justice for serious crimes is an essential part of any peace agreement, Human Rights Watch said in a letter … read more

Syrian president declares amnesty for prisoners

Syrian President Bashar Assad declared a general amnesty Monday for prisoners in the country, state media reported. It was not clear how many — if any — prisoners would be freed after the presidential decree, issued just five days after … read more

China sentences nine to death in Xinjiang

Nine among 81 handed sentences for crimes ranging from links to “terrorist organisations” and inciting separatism. Authorities in China’s restive Xinjiang region have sentenced nine people to death for “violent terrorism” crimes, state media reported, as part of a nation-wide … read more