Human Rights Watch has said that the dreaded Boko Haram sect, since its onslaught, has killed about 2,053 civilians in an estimated 95 attacks during the first half of 2014.
The group, in a statement issued yesterday, said figures were based on detailed analyses of media reports as well as field investigations.
It added that the killings and other abuses were part of widespread attacks on civilians in over 70 towns and villages in the northeast and other parts of the country.
“There has been a dramatic increase during 2014 in the numbers of casualties from bomb blasts, including several apparent suicide bombings.
“Since January, at least 432 people have been reported killed in 14 blasts in crowded market places, a brothel, a technical college, and, on two occasions, places where people were watching soccer
matches. Three of these attacks were in Maiduguri, two in Kano; two in Jos, and three in Abuja”.
The statement said that the bulk of the attacks and casualties took place in Borno state, where 1,446 people died.
Human Rights Watch also said it has documented abuses by the Nigerian security forces since 2009, as they responded to the attacks by Boko Haram.
“These include excessive use of force, burning homes, physical abuse, and extra-judicial killings of those suspected of supporting Boko Haram.
Amnesty International found that, following a March 14 Boko Haram attack on Giwa Barracks that led to the escape of hundreds of detainees, the security forces executed hundreds of the unarmed recaptured detainees”.
It said security forces have rounded up hundreds of men and boys suspected of supporting Boko Haram, detained them in inhuman conditions and physically abused and killed them.
The statement further said many other detainees forcibly disappeared, calling on the Nigerian government to account for the disappearance.
“The Nigerian government should recognize that it needs to protect its population both from Boko Haram and from abusive members of its own military and police,” the statement said.