Military Revenge in Benue

A Population Under Attack

On October 22 to 24, 2001, several hundred soldiers of the Nigerian army killed more than two hundred unarmed civilians and destroyed homes, shops, public buildings and other property in more than seven towns and villages in Benue State, in central-eastern Nigeria.The killings in Benue State constitute clear cases of extrajudicial executions by the Nigerian military, contravening Nigeria's obligations under international human rights law. Yet the Nigerian government has so far failed to take action against the soldiers responsible or against those who ordered the operation, or even to issue a strong condemnation of these killings.At the international level, foreign governments remained conspicuously silent. While some mentioned the Benue killings in private meetings with Nigerian officials, they refrained from doing so publicly. The information in this report is based on testimonies provided to Human Rights Watch during the visit to Benue in mid December 2001.

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