Dispatches: Nigeria’s Hidden War - Boko Haram
Channel 4's Dispatches reveals the other side of Nigeria's war on Islamist terror: a campaign by Nigeria's security forces against civilians that's so violent it could constitute war crimes. The kidnap of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by hard line Islamists shocked the world - and focused new attention on the terrorist group Boko Haram.
Boko Haram is one of the most brutal Islamist insurgencies - but a Channel 4 Dispatches revealed the other side of Nigeria’s war on terror.
Background to Boko Haram
It’s the heartland of the brutal Islamist terror group, Boko Haram. This year alone, Boko Haram have killed over two thousand people, most of them civilians.
In the past four years Boko Haram has become one of world’s most savage insurgencies - beheading police officers, launching indiscriminate bomb attacks, killing school children.
Boko Haram is fighting for the return of an Islamic state. Their insurgency is now raging in three northern states - an area bigger than England and Wales.
Nigeria’s counter-terrorism offence
Two years ago a State of Emergency was declared in the three northern states, a joint military taskforce created, thousands of troops sent north and in August a new division created to destroy Boko Haram.
The military took control of local militias, young Muslim men who had gathered together to help identify Boko Haram members living in their communities.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan hailed this militia as “new national heroes”.
Militia insiders admit to torturing victims
The militia had been given powers to detain anyone they wanted - and they started interrogating people as they saw fit.
The videos show the militia acting as if everyone was a potential terrorist.
‘Violation of international law’
Mark Ellis, an international human rights lawyer says: “This is one of the more egregious videos that I've seen… that’s a young boy there tied up… It’s quite apparent that it’s military doing this… that is a war crime there because… its quite apparent military doing this and that would be absolutely a war crime.”
Britain and the US continued support to Nigeria
In May of this year, David Cameron said: "Today I can announce that we have offered Nigeria further assistance in terms of surveillance aircraft and a military team to embed with the Nigerian Army in their HQ …this was an act of pure evil. The world is coming together not just to condemn it, but to do everything we can to help the Nigerians find these young girls."
Nigeria’s military already absorbs a quarter of the nation’s budget despite being dogged by constant allegations of high-level corruption.
In another video two men confessed to helping the insurgents but only under duress. Though they claim they were forced into it - there appears to be no room for a legal defence. A Nigerian soldier marches the men to a freshly dug grave before they are murdered.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch concerns
Giwa Barracks Massacre
Calls for action from the international community
Nigerian Right to Reply