Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, United Nations’ commissioner for human rights, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate reports of crimes by Boko Haram and alleged abuses by the military.
Al-Hussien said he had seen allegations of mass executions, rape and amputations of children by the sect.
“Civilians in northeast Nigeria have been living through horrifying acts of cruelty and violence by Boko Haram. These include wanton killings, summary executions, forced participation in military operations – including the use of children to detonate bombs, forced labour, forced marriage and sexual violence, including rape,” he said in a statement.
“We have reports of children who were suspected of theft and had their hands amputated, of a man stoned to death on accusations of fornication, mass executions of captives whose hands and legs were bound and who were dumped into rivers and wells.”
The statement added that about 1,000 people were brutally killed by insurgents in Mararaba and Madagali in Adamawa state, in late 2014.
Zeid said the UN encountered some witnesses who described how insurgents asked villagers in Kwajafa, Borno state, to gather to hear them preach.
“When the villagers gathered, the insurgents opened fire. The U.N. Human Rights Office has also received a video recording of an execution, allegedly of a girl who refused to convert to Islam,” he said.
On the role of the military, Zeid said: “Extremely worrying reports had emerged about the conduct of Nigerian armed forces. One man testified about his ordeal when he was mistaken for a Boko Haram member and detained by the military in Yola in Adamawa.
“The man said he spent five days without food or water, as detainees drank the urine of others to quench their thirst. He claimed that there was an average of five deaths per day in the facility.”
Buhari has promised to investigate Amnesty International’s report, saying his administration would not condone impunity and disregard for human rights.
“I assure you that your report will be looked into,” Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, quoted the president as saying.
The rights group had accused the military of human rights violations, demanding that the government investigates five senior military officers for the deaths of about 8,000 prisoners.
The defence headquarters, though, subsequently debunked the report, describing it as “biased, concocted and premeditated blackmail”.