The coordinated attacks by Boko Haram that killed at least 17 people and injured 34 more Wednesday night are vicious, unlawful and demonstrate a contemptible disregard for human life, Amnesty International said today after speaking with eyewitnesses in Maiduguri.
“Boko Haram must end its campaign of vicious and unlawful killings of civilians. These deplorable attacks took place at a time when Muslims were breaking their fast during the holy month of Ramadan and demonstrate complete disregard for human life,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“The Nigerian authorities must do more to protect civilians and bring the actual perpetrators of all such attacks to justice, rather than sweeping up hundreds of suspects and holding them indefinitely in horrific, life-threatening conditions.”
The attacks started at around 6.30pm when Boko Haram fighters opened fire randomly in Jiddari Polo community in Maiduguri, one of the northern region’s biggest towns. Later, at around 9pm, four suicide bombers detonated explosive devices near the Lake Chad Basin Research Institute in Goni Kachallari area of the town.
One eye-witness told Amnesty International how he had heard four explosions, one very close-by. Two of his children, 13-year old twins, were injured by shrapnel.
“Some of the injuries were minor while some were serious like one whose nose was split. I quickly looked for pieces of cloth to tie the nose to prevent it from severing and to also stop the bleeding.”
The man said that he and his neighbours gave first aid to people who had been injured by the blast and accompanied them to hospital.
“In total, we brought 17 injured people to the hospital, mostly teenagers. Two died.”
While Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility for these latest attacks, Amnesty International believes, based on analysis of the pattern of attacks as well as information gathered from witnesses and human rights activists, that the attacks fit the pattern of the group’s methods and targets.
In the last three months, there have been at least 10 attacks by Boko Haram in Borno State resulting in 57 deaths.
Amnesty International has been documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Boko Haram since 2009.
In April 2015, Amnesty International released a report titled ‘Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill’: Boko haram’s reign of terror in north east Nigeria. The report documented acts amounting war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Boko Haram.