These alarming statistics are not related to ISIL or Syria or the Middle East. No, these statistics, these people, are in Africa. The international community recently was warned of the risks of overlooking the ongoing humanitarian crisis on the African continent in a high level meeting on refugees in Africa.
High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres reported that recent strings of conflict in several African countries, including Nigeria, have displaced more than 2.5 million people in the first half of 2014.
|High Commissioner for Refugees|
The problems run deep in Nigeria.
According to footage obtained by Amnesty International, the Nigerian Military is contributing to the gross human rights violations that are plaguing the conflict ridden state. The Nigerian Military, along with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CTJF) are reportedly shown performing extrajudicial executions and utilizing mass graves in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
The alleged atrocities took place the same day that extremist group Boko Haram broke into the military compound, Giwa Barracks, and freed a large number of prisoners held in its detention center. According to reports, the Nigerian Military recaptured approximately 600 prisoners and executed them all.
As Nigerian forces continue to battle Boko Haram, the civilian toll continues to rise. According to the Amnesty report, more than 4,000 people have been killed in 2014 alone, the majority of which were civilians.
The group, established in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, has the aim of creating an Islamic State in northern Nigeria; the Nigerian government has determined that the group is an al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group. Analysts argue that Boko Haram can trace its roots to inequality and poor governance in the Nigerian state. There is no question that the uprising of Boko Haram was in response to persecution of Muslims in northeast Nigeria by the military and the government. Initially they were part of society until the uprising in 2009 when 700 people were killed in Maidugari alone, including Yusuf.
|Mohammed Yusuf on his way to interrogation|
The report's extensive outline of the atrocities committed by state actors include unlawful killings, torture, and other cruel or inhumane punishments. Most alarming is the apparent widespread use of torture:
Although the constitution and law prohibit such practices … torture is not criminalized, and security service personnel, including police, military, and State Security Service (SSS) officers, regularly tortured, beat, and abused demonstrators, criminal suspects, detainees, and convicted prisoners.
The 68-page report outlines numerous government failures and human rights violations. Nigeria is just the most recent case of human rights violations in Africa going largely unimpeded while other parts of the world remain in our headlines. Nigeria will seemingly join Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and countless other states in this respect.
The humanitarian crisis in Africa cannot remain unnoticed. It has happened countless times before, most notably in Rwanda, where nearly one million Rwandans were systematically killed over 100 days. The international community must take action as it has done in countless other states, including Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Allowing self-interest and politics to dictate which populations are and are not important can no longer be accepted.
As long as states like Nigeria are considered to have little political importance, they will continue to only be periodic headlines and nothing more--like as the Bring Back Our Girls campaign. Remember the more than 200 Nigerian school girls that Boko Haram kidnapped in April? The majority are still held captive, yet the outrage, criticism, and activism has all but dissipated. We must do better.
|They're still out there!|
Military leaders accused the media of publishing stories that were blatantly untrue. This is all very strange since the sources of many of those stories was the military.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh has bewailed the international community's neglect of Nigeria in the fight against insurgency, even as he said girls erstwhile paraded as missing Chibok girl, for good reasons, were not.
|3 alleged escapees|
"for good reasons" - I can't imagine what possible good could come out of that.
I have reported from the beginning that no sources in Nigeria can be trusted. The rescue of 60 girls in early July is a good example of that. It didn't happen!
Now we have a girl who, apparently, was left in the forest by Boko Haram, and made her way out and eventually home. I bought into that story and it has only been the last few days when I've come to doubt it. The story broke on Sept 26th and we have not heard another thing about this girl since. That's bizarre! Reporters should be all over her finding out what she and other girls endured in the Boko Haram camps, but not one report on her since. I have to assume that the CDS's comment is applicable to her as well.