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Civilians Killed As Nigerian Military Launched Air Attacks On Villages: Amnesty International

Unic Press UK: Human Rights Organization, Amnesty International, yesterday accused the Nigerian military of deliberate use of lethal force, causing the death of hundreds of civilians when materiel was used to attack villages – Lawaru, Dong, Kodomti, Shafaron, Nzuruwei – during air raids in Adamawa State, in the North East Region of Nigeria.

“Launching air raids is not a legitimate law enforcement method by anyone’s standard. Such reckless use of deadly force is unlawful, outrageous and lays bare the Nigerian military’s shocking disregard for the lives of those it supposedly exists to protect. The Nigerian authorities must investigate these attacks and, where these investigations indicate criminal responsibility, prosecute those responsible and bring them to justice,” the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said.

In its report, ‘Nigeria: Dozens Killed As Military Launches Air Attacks On Villages Beset By Spiralling Communal Violence’, and a video ‘Why did the Nigerian Air Force do the unthinkable?’ which was issued on 30th January 20147, the Amnesty International illustrated how the Nigerian military had set fire on several villages.

The Human Rights Organization, whose team visited the affected villages and collected data in relation to the air attacks, said:

“Satellite and aerial imagery secured and analysed by Amnesty International confirm the devastating cumulative effect of the herders and Air Force attacks, with at least eight villages heavily damaged or completely destroyed by fire. An Amnesty International team documented the impact of the air raid on the ground. In Nzuruwei, the team saw metal tears on a vehicle and motorbike which were likely caused by rocket fragmentation. Witnesses said they found remnants of the rockets nearby. Experts identified the munitions as French-made SNEB rockets which are known to be used by Nigeria’s Alpha Jet aircraft.”

The report from Amnesty International also revealed that the military equipment that were used by the Nigerian military to attack the villages in Adamawa State included fighter jets, rockets, bombs, guns.

“The helicopter and the jet started releasing bombs. Houses started burning. Children started running for their lives. Mothers packed up their children and escaped with them. We men were unable to fight back and we started running too. This jet burnt our houses and properties to ashes,” one of the witness told Amnesty International.

On New Year’s Day, the 1st January 2018, nomadic pastorialists suspected to be of the Fulani ethnic group, attacked communities in Benue State, Nigeria, killing many farmers and other locals in Guma local government area (LGA) and Logo LGA, Benue State, Nigeria.

In a statement this month, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) flayed the Nigerian government, saying that the pattern of attacks seemed to indicate “collusion of the Security Units with the Islamists militia operating under such names as Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram, “unknown gunmen”, and “group of vandals”.

On 17th January, 2017, the Nigerian Air Force “accidentally”, in broad daylight, bombed a Christian IDP Camp and killed over 200 Christian refugees in Rann, Kala-Balge Local Government in Borno State. In December 2017, an Air Force spokes person confirmed that the Nigerian Air Force sent an Alpha Jet and an EC 135 attack Helicopter to fire “warning” shots at Islamist militia attacking Christians in Numan, Adamawa state, but not to kill them! The villagers were later to report that the Jet actually bombed the Christian villages resulting in the death of over 50 people, while, the Nigerian Air Force said it merely fired warning shots at the Islamist militia attacking the villagers. This is jihad as we cannot understand fired warning shots in the narrative of this attack.” (Christian Association of Nigeria: 16 January 2018)

In its full report ‘NIGERIA: ANALYSIS OF THE AIR FORCE RAID IN ADAMAWA STATE’ published on 30 January 2018, Amnesty International said:

“Between 6 and 15 December, Amnesty International interviewed 15 witnesses and visited Baya, Lawaru, Dong, Kodomti, Shafaron and Nzuruwei villages. Amnesty International took more than 150 photos and videos of the impact on the ground and the remnants of the rockets found in the villages. The organization also reviewed more than 50 photos taken by witnesses, including 20 pictures of those who were killed in the attacks. In addition, Amnesty International reviewed a video of a controlled explosion of one of the rockets in Shafaron on 12 December. Amnesty International secured and reviewed satellite and aerial imagery of the villages. The organization also shared photos and videos of the impact, rockets and remnants with weapons experts for analysis.”

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