Children dying in Nigeria military detention centre: Amnesty report
May 11, Abuja: 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, Amnesty International report said.
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.
According to the Amnesty, the Nigerian military dumps bodies of detainees who died in the barracks in the Gwange cemetery nearby.
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.
Amnesty said that more than 120 of the 1,200 detainees currently being held in the facility are children, some as young as five.
According to the report, many of the young children were detained when their mothers were arrested, while others were born in detention.
Amnesty also said operations by the Nigerian military against Boko Haram have led to thousands of people being arbitrarily rounded up, arrested, and thrown into Giwa barracks with no evidence against them. Earlier this year soldiers released 50 children.
The Oslo Times