The Amnesty International (AI) has accused the Nigerian military of subjecting children in the northeast ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency to unlawful treatment and detention.
The allegation was contained in a new report of Tuesday, May 26 titled; “‘We dried our tears’: Addressing the toll on children of Northeast Nigeria’s conflict”.
According to the report, more than 230 people affected by the conflict; including 119 who were children when they suffered serious crimes by Boko Haram, the Nigerian military, or both.
This disclosure was based on interviews conducted between November 2019 and April 2020.
The group also added that the report also included 48 children held in military detention for months or years; as well as 22 adults who had been detained with children.
“The past decade of bitter conflict between Nigeria’s military and Boko Haram has been an assault on childhood itself in Northeast Nigeria. The Nigerian authorities risk creating a lost generation; unless they urgently address how the war has targeted and traumatized thousands of children,” the statement quoted Joanne Mariner; Acting Director of Crisis Response at Amnesty International.
The rights group said children in areas under Boko Haram control had been subjected to torture and forced to watch public executions and other brutal punishments.
A 17-year-old girl who narrated her life in the Sambisa forest after she escaped Boko Haram captivity for four years in the report.
“My wicked ‘husband’ always beat me. My daily activities included praying, cooking if there was food, and going for Quranic lessons. No movement was allowed, and no visiting friends. It was a terrible experience, and I witnessed different punishments, from shooting to stoning to lashing.
“She, and most other former child “wives” interviewed including some who returned with children born during captivity had received little or no assistance in returning to school; starting livelihoods, or accessing psychosocial support,” Amnesty International said.
The report alleged that children who escaped Boko Haram territory were arbitrarily detained for years in military barracks; in conditions amounting to torture or other ill-treatment.
“Most such detentions are unlawful; children are never charged or prosecuted for any crime and are denied the rights to access a lawyer, appear before a judge, or communicate with their families.
“The widespread unlawful detentions may amount to a crime against humanity,” the report added.