Amnesty International is alarmed by the increase in attacks by unknown gunmen on people in north-east Nigeria and called on the government to take effective measures to protect the people and prevent further human rights abuses.
Early Thursday morning saw the latest attack, on Shuwa, Kirchinga and Michika villages in Adamawa State, north-east Nigeria, in which at least 40 people were slaughtered.
“Since the beginning of this year the attacks have intensified. Over 600 people have been killed by gunmen, often suspected to be Boko Haram,” said Makmid Kamara, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.
“The Nigerian government’s continued failure to protect ordinary people from attacks and unlawful killings is shocking. The authorities have an obligation to protect people’s lives and properties under all circumstances. All armed groups operating in northern Nigeria must immediately stop these horrific attacks”
On Monday at least 29 students and teachers at a college were murdered in Yobe state in north-eastern Nigeria. Some injured students later died in hospital increasing the death toll to over 40.
Amnesty International has spoken to survivors of these attacks.
Some survivors and local residents told Amnesty International that the gunmen spent several hours in the school compound killing people and burning nearby houses and school buildings. They described how gunmen arrived around 9:00pm and started shooting indiscriminately, killing every male they found. Children who hid in a classroom were burned alive. Survivors and some eye witnesses told Amnesty International it took several hours before the army responded, in one case after the attackers had left.
Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian authorities to provide better protection for schools and ensure that all attacks are properly investigated and suspected perpetrators brought to justice in a fair trial without recourse to the death penalty.