Politics, Africa

Amnesty slams Nigeria's leader over 'war crimes' general

Rights group hits out at reinstatement of senior army officer accused of rights abuses in 2014

Amnesty slams Nigeria's leader over 'war crimes' general


By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria

 Amnesty International has criticized Nigeria's president for reinstating an army general it insists was among senior officers implicated in the mass murder of hundreds of detainees in northeast Borno state.

The rights group says President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to honor promises to investigate allegations of rights abuses and war crimes leveled against some army officials coordinating counter-insurgency operations in the Boko Haram-wracked northeast.

Major General Ahmadu Mohammed was retired from the army after troops under his 7th division mutinied on May 14, 2014 in Maiduguri, refusing to embark on an anti-Boko Haram operation.

The army announced on Jan. 14, 2015 that Buhari had ordered that the general be reinstated after he was cleared of charges.

Amnesty International on Monday said that no investigation has been done into its report released on June 3, 2015.

This had implicated Maj. Gen. Mohammed and eight other senior army officials in the March 14, 2014 execution of around 640 detainees following a Boko Haram raid on Giwa army barracks in Maiduguri, capital city of Borno state.

"The reinstatement of a senior Nigerian military general implicated in the mass murder of hundreds of detainees underlines the monumental failure of the government to stamp out impunity for war crimes at the highest level," Amnesty said.

Buhari, responding at the time to the Amnesty report, had promised the allegations would be "looked into" and that his government would "deal with all cases of human rights abuses".

Amnesty regretted that "this investigation is yet to begin".

The group recalled how its report had exposed a range of alleged war crimes and possible crimes against humanity committed by the military in the course of operations against Boko Haram.

It claimed that, since March 2011, more than 7,000 people were starved, suffocated and tortured to death in military detention camps.

The Nigerian authorities have yet to respond to the latest statement by the rights body.

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