March 26, 2019

Children dying in Nigeria military detention


Babies and children have died in squalid conditions in a military detention centre in northeast Nigeria, where suspected Boko Haram members are being held, often without any evidence, according to an Amnesty International report.

The UK-based human rights group said 149 people, including at least 12 children and babies, have died in the Giwa barracks, the main military prison in Maiduguri, because of appalling and unsanitary conditions, since the beginning of this year.

The Nigerian military dumps bodies of detainees who died in the barracks in the Gwange cemetery nearby, Amnesty said.

Thousands of Boko Haram gunmen and suspected fighters have been detained in the Giwa barracks since the battle between the armed group and the Nigerian army began six years ago.

In its report, Amnesty said evidence gathered through interviews with former detainees and witnesses, and supported by video and photographs, shows that many detainees may have died from disease, hunger, dehydration and gunshot wounds.

“We’ve spoken to former inmates. They’ve given us eyewitness accounts of seeing children dying in detention,” Colm O Cuanachain, a senior official with Amnesty International, told Al Jazeera.

“Overcrowding and the conditions there were clearly contributing to a situation where children were dying,” he said.

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