Amnesty International has in a report released yesterday accused Nigerian security forces, led by the military of killing at least 150 peaceful pro-Biafra protesters in the South-East of the country.
According to the report, an analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eyewitness testimonies relating to demonstrations and other gatherings between August 2015 and August 2016 consistently showed that the military fired live ammunition with little or no warning to disperse crowds.
It also finds evidence of mass extrajudicial executions by security forces, including at least 60 people shot dead in the space of two days in connection with events to mark Biafra Remembrance Day. Makmid Kamara, Interim Director of Amnesty International Nigeria said:
“This deadly repression of pro-Biafra activists is further stoking tensions in the South-east of Nigeria. This reckless and trigger-happy approach to crowd control has caused at least 150 deaths and we fear the actual total might be far higher.
“The Nigerian government’s decision to send in the military to respond to pro-Biafra events seems to be in large part to blame for this excessive bloodshed. The authorities must immediately launch an impartial investigation and bring the perpetrators to book.”
Since August 2015, there has been a series of protests, marches and gatherings by members and supporters of IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) who have been seeking the creation of a Biafran state.
Tensions increased further following the arrest of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu on 14 October 2015. Despite several court rulings to grant him bail, the Nigerian government have chosen to still keep him in detention.
Amnesty International said it has shared the key findings of the report with the Federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Interior, Inspector General of Police and the Director-General of the state Security Services.
Of which it received responses from the Attorney General and Inspector General of Police but neither answered the questions raised in the report.