The Ogoni Crisis

A Case-Study of Military Repression in Southeastern Nigeria

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Two years after the annulment of the June 1993 presidential election, which was widely viewed to have been won by Chief Abiola, the Nigerian political climate was volatile and human rights violations pervasive. The repressive tactics of the government of Gen. Sani Abacha, who seized power in November 1993, generated increasing skepticism throughout the country about the promised transition to democracy. This report focuses on the military crackdown in Ogoniland, which began in late May 1994 following the murders by a mob of four Ogoni leaders who were branded as pro-government. In the wake of the murders, which occurred under disputed circumstances, the Rivers State Internal Security Task Force embarked on a series of punitive raids on Ogoni villages characterized by flagrant human rights abuses, including extrajudicial executions, indiscriminate shooting, arbitrary arrests and detention, floggings, rapes, looting, and extortion.

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