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Published On: Tue, Jan 13th, 2015

UN demands probe of mass killings in northeast

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BagaBy Evelyn Okakwu & Mohammed Kandi with agency report

The United Nations has on Tuesday called on Nigeria to restore law and order in the northeast and investigate “mass killings” of civilians blamed on Boko Haram insurgents.

Nigeria’s military said on Monday that at least 150 people had been killed in clashes with Boko Haram in the north-eastern town of Baga, but the UN human rights office noted that there were “wildly differing” accounts with some reports putting the toll this year at 2, 000.

“While the exact details remain unclear, what appears fairly certain is that mass killings and mass forced displacement have occurred,” the UN human rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing in Geneva.

“We urge the government to act swiftly to restore law and order while ensuring that security operations are conducted in line with international law and full respect for human rights.”

At least 11, 320 Nigerian refugees have fled the violence by crossing into neighbouring Chad since the start of the year, the UN refugee agency said.

“Some of them are stranded on an island on Lake Chad, called Kangala Island, there are about 2 000 of them there,” UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler said, adding that the agency was transferring them to the Chad mainland.

According to Reuters, the UN aid agencies have not been able to verify the number of people displaced within Nigeria because of a lack of independent access to the areas affected, but stand ready to provide humanitarian assistance, OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke said.

Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday disclosed that it has so far recorded 981, 416 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) nationwide.

The Director-General of the Agency, Muhammad Sani Sidi made the disclosure when he received a delegation of officials from the West African wing of the USAID yesterday in Abuja, saying that his Agency was doing its best in providing the IDPs with timely support to cushion the effect of the situation.


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