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IPOB Killings: Army Must Fish Out Killers—HURIWA….Backs Amnesty International

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
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A frontline Pro-democracy and Non-governmental Organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has demanded the Army’s high command to fish out and punish their officers/operatives who shot and killed over 150 unarmed civilian protesters belonging to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The Rights group has also faulted the hasty and insensitive response from the Army headquarters dismissing the report compiled by the United Kingdom based organization- Amnesty International on the identities of the civilians killed when soldiers and police opened fire with live bullets into crowds of unarmed Igbo protesters in Ontisha, Anambra State and across the South East of Nigeria.

“We expect that the office of the Chief of Army Staff should have meticulously studied the massive evidence of coordinated extra-judicial executions which Amnesty International generated from credible eye witnesses and non-governmental institutions with a view to deploying effective and accountable internal mechanisms to identify and prosecute the military operatives and field officers of the Nigerian Army who gave the illegal orders that led to the slaughter of over 150 civilians needlessly”.

“We call on Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai to do the needful by initiating comprehensive cleanup of the military establishment to rid it off some of the bad eggs who have blood on their hands because it is a crime against humanity for armed soldiers to have opened fire into crowds of civilians”.

HURIWA in a statement jointly authorized by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, said credible Civil Society observers have testified that the evidence generated on the killings of IPOB members by armed security forces are convincing and highly credible and therefore must not be dismissed by mere wave of hand.

“Let the Chief of Army Staff who has even set up a human rights remedial mechanism within the Army to respond much more robustly and transparently to the persuasive reports done by Amnesty International and deliver justice to the families whose bread-winners were wasted needlessly just for peacefully agitating for self-determination which is allowed under International Laws”.

HURIWA recalled that in the latest report yesterday, Amnesty International said an analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eyewitness testimonies relating to demonstrations and other gatherings between August 2015 and August 2016 consistently showed that the military fired live ammunition with little or no warning to disperse crowds.

It also found evidence of mass extrajudicial executions by security forces, including at least 60 people shot dead in the space of two days in connection with events to mark Biafra Remembrance Day.

“Since August 2015, there has been a series of protests, marches and gatherings by members and supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who have been seeking the creation of a Biafran state. Tensions increased further following the arrest of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu on October 14, 2015.”

HURIWA cautioned that Nigeria is gradually becoming a society whose government unwittingly tolerates unlawful killings of civilians by the same supposedly professional armed security forces who are heavily maintained with the resources of the same people they intermittently turned their weapons illegally to terminate their precious lives on nebulous ground of peacefully agitating for self-determination.