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South-East Killings: Intersociety Replies Nigerian Army, Lists 24 Grey Areas Avoided By Military

  The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law has reacted to the Nigerian Army's rebuttal of the involvement of its so...


The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law has reacted to the Nigerian Army's rebuttal of the involvement of its soldiers in the killings of over 1,000 South-East in 14 months.


SaharaReporters had on Thursday reported that Intersociety in its report accused the Nigerian Army and its sister security agents of wreaking havoc in the South-East region from October 2020 to December 2021.


But, the army debunked the report as the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, described the civic group’s allegations as outrageous and defective.


Reacting, Intersociety in a fresh report on Friday, signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche and Chidimma Udegbunam, enumerated 24 grey areas where the Nigerian Army should be held accountable.


Intersociety said, “The authorities of the Army deserve commendation for speaking out and wittingly or unwittingly admitting responsibility. Other than the Nigerian Army’s wittingly or unwittingly admission of operational culpability, the army failed to provide answers to the following 24 Critical Questions:


"A. based on intra and inter-agency intelligence available to the Nigerian Army, if any, how many groups of “Unknown Gunmen” exist in the Southeast and what is their numerical strength? B. Are all the 4800 arrested/abducted in the past 14 months armed ESN members or “Unknown Gunmen? C. In the unbiased opinion of the Nigerian Army, how many Easterners had been ‘arrested’ in the past 14 months and where are they?


"D. How many of them have been freed, if any, and how many have been handed over to the Police, if any, and as legally required? E. By the extant Laws in Nigeria including the Armed Forces Act 2004, can Nigerian Army detain, investigate and prosecute arrested civilian citizens who are not subject to the Armed Forces Act of 2004? F. Going by our Special Investigative Report, “who and what are the names of those killed or abducted and disappeared in Eastern Nigeria in the course of the Army and security forces’ operations in the past 14 months? G. How many of them were killed and abducted? H. What are the whereabouts of those abducted and bodies of those killed openly and in custody? I. When, where and why were they killed or abducted? J. Who killed them and abducted others?


"Others are: K. is it also part of the Nigerian Army’s “Rules of Engagement” under UN System to abduct civilian citizens alive and disappear or kill them in custody? L. Are they also part of the Army’s use of force, proportionality of same and legitimate self-defence under the same UN System? M. who killed 110 residents at Obigbo in Rivers State between 21st October and 18th November 2020?


"N. Who abducted and bundled away over 700 civilian residents of the area including over 50 non-menopausal women? O. Which law authorises the Army to abduct civilian residents of Obigbo in the hours of the Blue Law and secretly held them for more than one year in faraway Northern Nigeria without trial? P. Who sexually molested about 70% of the over 50 abducted Obigbo women? Q. Who killed over 40 of the Obigbo abductees in custody?


"R. who set ablaze or burnt down or razed or destroyed civilian dwelling houses, sanctuaries or sacred places of worship and their symbols and livelihoods in Eastern Nigeria in the past 14 months? S. how many dwelling houses, sacred places of worship and livelihoods in villages or communities in the North have soldiers of the Nigerian Army set ablaze or burnt down in reprisal for killing of soldiers including Generals?


"The rest are: T. When has it become a military tradition and art of modern warfare for the Army to kill or permanently disappear citizens arrested or abducted alive and taken into custody alive? U. under International Rules of Engagement in inter-state armed conflict involving Nigeria and another, can Nigerian Army or Armed Forces kill in custody its captured Prisoners Of War (POWs) or surrendered rival combatants or wounded others?


"V. When has it become a military tradition or art of modern warfare or policing of turbulent Civil Space for Army to engage in wanton destruction of civilian dwelling houses including sacred places of worship especially in Eastern Nigeria? W. Is the present day Nigerian Army truly “Nigerian Army” with compositional reflection of the country’s multi ethnic and religious groupings? X. When was the last time the Nigerian Army impartially investigated allegations of professional or operational misconducts or gross misconducts against its personnel and superior officers in conformity with the Int’l Law Principles of Complementarity and No Impunity?"


"Finally, as the Nigerian Army was effortlessly explaining itself, its personnel of the 144 Battalion at Ukwa West in Abia State were busy two days ago burning citizens’ houses and properties in Owaza Community, a boundary community between Abia and Rivers State over a report of killing of some military personnel in the area by suspected oil thieves," the statement partly read.


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