Nigeria: Gruesome footage implicates military in war crimes

Featured picture: Image extracted from one of the analyzed videos, showing what appears to be a member of the Nigerian military. The uniform has the words “Borno State Operation Flush” emblazoned. Note: parts of this picture have been blurred due to its graphic nature.

Gruesome video footage, images and testimonies gathered by Amnesty International provide fresh evidence of war crimes, including extrajudicial executions, and other serious human rights violations being carried out in north-eastern Nigeria as the fight by the military against Boko Haram and other armed groups intensifies.

Please note: The following video contains graphic footage:

The footage, obtained from numerous sources during a recent trip to Borno state, reveals graphic evidence of multiple war crimes being carried out in Nigeria.

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What can we learn from the videos?

The videos support allegations of war crimes and extensive human rights violations committed at the hand of Nigeria’s military, the “Civilian Joint Task Force” (CJTF), a state sponsored militia group, which operates in conjunction with the military and by the armed group, Boko Haram. The footage, obtained from numerous sources on a recent mission to north-eastern Nigeria, graphically depicts multiple war crimes and other abuses committed by both sides to the conflict. They include:

  • The mass arbitrary arrest and beatings of dozens of civilians in the town of Bama, Borno State, in July 2013 by Nigerian military and CJTF.
  • The aftermath of a Boko Haram raid on Bama in February 2014 during which Boko Haram killed nearly 100 people and destroyed or badly damaged scores of homes and other buildings.
  • Detainees being dumped into mass graves after having their throats slit by men who appear to be members of the Nigerian military and the “civilian joint task force” (“CJTF”) – believed to have taken place on 14 March 2014 just outside of Maiduguri.

How do we know the videos are authentic?

Amnesty International has verified all the content of the videos. The verification process included corroboration of the events shown in the video by eyewitness testimony and other information from reliable sources on the ground, including a number of military officials. Amnesty International also conducted a content analysis of the video, looking at specific features depicted in it. The analysis included image enhancement techniques and reviewing the video in slow motion, using the VLC and Tracker software.

The audio was also extracted from the video, which can be used for further analysis and review, such as analysis of accents and linguistic traits.

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