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Human Rights Watch uncovered detailed information on extrajudicial killings of civilians by both the police and the military during the three days of rioting in Kaduna. Instead of restoring law and order, in several instances members of the security forces turned against the very people they were supposed to protect. In some cases, the victims were boys or young men who were shot because they were caught breaking the curfew; in other cases, people were killed or injured when the police or military fired to deter rioting; other people were hit by stray bullets. In a number of instances, the police or military, taking advantage of the general chaos, targeted particular individuals with the specific intention of killing them. Overall, however, it was difficult to ascertain the exact reasons why members of the security forces shot particular individuals or groups of individuals. Despite several efforts, Human Rights Watch was not able to confirm the level at which orders were given for the police and the military to use lethal force. However, these cases form part of a well-documented pattern of extrajudicial killings by the security forces in the context of attempts to restore law and order in Nigeria.40

Some of the people interviewed in Kaduna by Human Rights Watch referred to the presence of “fake soldiers” during the days of rioting; when asked how they could distinguish fake soldiers from real soldiers, they said that the fake soldiers did not have full military uniform, and wore canvas shoes or sandals instead of boots. Some of them claimed to have recognized these individuals as civilians. Some also said that the fake soldiers were not behaving like real soldiers, and that a number of them were subsequently arrested by real soldiers, or by the police. Human Rights Watch was not able to confirm the presence of fake soldiers, although it is likely that some civilians did obtain military uniforms and wore these to disguise themselves during the riots. As a result of this confusion, this report does not include many of the cases where people were killed by alleged fake soldiers. The cases described below, with one exception (where a perpetrator was identified as a traditional leader), are those where witnesses confirmed that the perpetrators were indeed members of the Nigerian army, the police force, or of a civil defence group.

Violations of international obligations

The conduct of the Nigerian security forces in these and other incidents in Kaduna constitutes a clear violation of Nigeria’s international obligations, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Nigeria is a state party. The ICCPR states: “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”41 The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights also states: “Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of this right.”42

The U.N. Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance with the ICCPR, states in its first General Comment on the right to life:

The protection against arbitrary deprivation of life … is of paramount importance. The Committee considers that States parties should take measures not only to prevent and punish deprivation of life by criminal acts, but also to prevent arbitrary killing by their own security forces. The deprivation of life by the authorities of the State is a matter of the utmost gravity. Therefore, the law must strictly control and limit the circumstances in which a person may be deprived of his life by such authorities.43

In addition, the U.N. Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials states: “In the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons” and “Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.”44 The Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials state: “Law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms […] Whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall: a) exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate object to be achieved; b) minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life; c) ensure that assistance and medical aid are rendered to any injured or affected persons at the earliest possible moment; d) ensure that relatives or close friends of the injured or affected person are notified at the earliest possible moment.” The Basic Principles also state: “Governments shall ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offence under their law. Exceptional circumstances such as internal political instability or any other public emergency may not be invoked to justify any departure from these basic principles.”45

The U.N. Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions also lay out the measures to be taken by governments with regard to extrajudicial executions, including the responsibility to investigate such human rights violations thoroughly, promptly and impartially, and ensure that those responsible for extrajudicial executions are brought to justice.46

None of these principles appear to have been observed in the cases described below, either in terms of the conduct of the security forces in Kaduna, or in terms of the government’s responsibility to investigate and prevent extrajudicial killings.

In addition to carrying out extrajudicial killings, the security forces also clearly failed to protect the citizens of Kaduna from violence carried out by other groups. The basic duty of protection is outlined in Article 1 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials: “Law enforcement officials shall at all times fulfil the duty imposed upon them by law, by serving the community and by protecting all persons against illegal acts, consistent with the high degree of responsibility required by their profession.”47

The victims of the violence in Kaduna have the right to an effective remedy, which is enshrined in various international human rights instruments.48 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, widely accepted as customary international law, provides that everyone has “the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted” by the constitution or by law.49 The ICCPR requires in Article 2 that states “ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.” Persons shall have their right to a remedy determined by “competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities,” or other competent state authority. The state must “ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted.”50 The U.N. Human Rights Committee states in its draft General Comment on Article 2 that without reparations to individuals whose rights have been violated, a state’s “obligation to provide an effective remedy, which is central to the efficacy of Article 2, …is not discharged. … [T]he Covenant generally requires appropriate monetary compensation.”51

Killings in Kabala Costain and Kabala Doki

In one of the most blatant instances of deliberate executions documented by Human Rights Watch, eight men were rounded up and shot dead on November 22, in Kabala Costain, by a team of police and military, led by a member of the local civil defence group52; they also killed two other men, who were already injured.

Eyewitnesses and local residents in Kabala Costain told Human Rights Watch that tension began in the morning, when three men in their early twenties with gunshot wounds were brought to the area for emergency medical treatment. Residents were told that two of them had been shot by the security forces: one of them, believed to be Idris Abubakar Mai Tea, had reportedly been shot on the thigh by a soldier or policeman in Kabala Doki (see below). The second one, Abdullahi, was fatally wounded after reportedly being shot in the chest by soldiers near Kabala Guest Inn, as he was on his way to see his parents in Kabala Doki. The third, Abdullahi Lawal, had been shot in the stomach by unidentified individuals while he was standing in front of his house in Kabala Costain.53

Soon afterwards, the same morning, a group of soldiers, paramilitary mobile police and a member of the local civil defence group called Kenneth arrived in Kabala Costain, to the place where the three injured men had been brought. A local resident described what happened next:

At about 10 a.m., soldiers came from Kabala Doki, with the police. There were three soldiers, seven MOPOL [mobile police] and one civil defence. The MOPOL had normal uniforms and guns. Kenneth had a civil defence uniform; we recognized him. The three soldiers were in camouflage, with boots and caps. They were drunk; I could smell the alcohol. One was a sergeant. […] They came here and said they were looking for a man in blue shirt and red trousers. We opened the door but everyone who was inside ran away.

[…] One of the friends of the injured boys had sent for Umar, the doctor, to come and treat them. Dr Umar had been here for thirty minutes before the military and police arrived. When he told them he was treating casualties, they entered the compound and said: “Let’s see the casualties.” They took the three injured boys, plus Dr Umar and Musa, who had brought the injured man Abdullahi. […] Then the MOPOL said they would shoot the three injured men. I heard one of the soldiers say: “Oga [boss], let’s go and kill them”. The oga, who was a MOPOL, said: “Just take them outside.” I didn’t hear them say anything else. The police dragged all three of them outside. They left Abdullahi outside, the one who was badly injured in the chest. (He later died in hospital after three days.) They took Abdullahi Lawal outside and shot him once in the shoulder, near the chest. He died in the gutter.

They came back to search our rooms, looking for other boys. […] Then they went to a provisions shop. They picked two boys there and took them. They went to a second shop, a barber’s shop. They beat two boys there but didn’t take them […]

Later, before prayers, a boy told me that those they had picked had been killed. People in nearby houses heard them saying: “We’re going to shoot you” and they shot them. Kenneth, the civil defence, is known here. He was heard saying they should be taken to that place, near the river; it was a place where people had been killed in 2000. People went to find the corpses there and buried them.54

Other residents confirmed that the team of soldiers and policemen, led by Kenneth, went from house to house and shop to shop, searching for people. They appeared to be looking for particular individuals. In one case, they forced their way into a house, asking for a young man by name. The man’s father, who was present, explained what happened:

Kenneth came and called one of my sons. My son said he wouldn’t go, because I had told him not to. I have no idea why they called him. […] Kenneth was with eight policemen, including the superintendent of the highway patrol and seven mobile police, and three soldiers. They were armed. The MOPOL were wearing jackets over their uniforms, covering their names. The soldiers were wearing normal military uniforms. When my son refused to go with them, they all followed him inside the house. They left one policeman outside guarding other men they had arrested; they had arrested seven people and tied them to each other with their shirts.

Inside, all my seven children locked themselves in a room: the oldest is thirty-five […] the youngest is twelve years old. The superintendent said that if they didn’t come out, he would break the door. I asked my sons to come out. The superintendent asked them to raise their hands. Kenneth pointed to one of my wife’s brothers, Musa Abubakar, and said: “This is the one”. We asked what he had done, but they didn’t say. The superintendent caught Musa by his collar, held him and dragged him. He kicked me and pulled Musa out. He instructed one of the policemen that if any of my children put down his hands, they should shoot. They joined Musa’s and Hamisu Umar’s shirts together. Dr Umar was one of the seven outside. Kenneth said: “Take all of them to the riverside”. They took them to the riverside. I looked out to see. A soldier pointed his gun at me so I went back inside.55

Soon afterwards, it was confirmed that all eight were shot dead near a rubbish dump at the riverside. The eight victims were Hamisu Umar (the medical doctor, in his forties), Musa Abubakar (a painter, about thirty-seven), Garba Halladu, Abdullahi Yusuf, Ya’u Ibrahim, Hamza Ibrahim (four traders), Abubakar Umar (a goat trader), and Danyaya Usman (a radio mechanic). Two of them, Abdullahi Yusuf and Danyaya Usman, did not die immediately; Danyaya Usman, who was shot in the neck, was able to narrate the story before he died in hospital.

An eyewitness described the executions which he watched from a house close to the scene:

At the rubbish dump, they ordered all eight to lie down. Two of them, Hamisu Umar and Musa Abubakar, resisted and refused to lie down. Their shirts came untied (the other six were still tied together). They struggled with the police and even held a policeman. A police officer holding a metal iron [bar] started hitting Hamisa and Musa. They became weak and fell down. Already four policemen were pointing their guns at them and they opened fire, shooting randomly at all of them. Musa’s body was jerking; he didn’t die immediately […] The four policemen were on the top of the rubbish heap; the men they shot were at the bottom. Kenneth was giving the orders. He was saying: “Shoot them!” After shooting, the police and the others ran away. 56

Dr Hamisu Umar’s wife, who had been married to him for two years, was at home when her husband was killed:

[My husband] had been called to help remove a bullet from someone who had been shot, so he went out. We heard people shouting. A woman said to me: “Where is your husband? I heard they shot him”, but she couldn’t confirm it. We went to check. They shot them by the riverside, close to here in Kabala Costain. We saw them, my husband and seven other men. We saw his body. He was already dead. He had bullet wounds on his head and chest. The bodies were around the river, all next to each other. I have no idea how or why he was shot. 57

A ninth man, twenty-eight-year-old Idris Abubakar Mai Tea, who had been injured earlier in Kabala Doki, was also shot dead by the team led by Kenneth; the exact circumstances of his death are not confirmed.58

It was not clear on what basis Kenneth and the team of police and military had targeted particular individuals. The victims appear to have had little in common, apart from the fact that they were Muslim men. Some local residents speculated that it may have been an act of revenge for killings which had taken place during the 2000 violence in Kaduna. Kenneth, who is from the Igbo ethnic group, had apparently threatened earlier that he would “show those Hausa”, after two Igbo men were killed in 2000.

Local residents immediately reported the matter to the local authorities and to the police station at Kabala Doki, and witnesses gave statements. As Kenneth was well-known in the area, on November 23 a group of about ten residents took the initiative to take him to the police station. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) handed Kenneth over to the office of the Commissioner of Police. However, the Commissioner did not detain him and he was allowed to walk free. When residents complained again to the police station and expressed concern about the tension caused by Kenneth’s release, their complaints were dismissed by the investigating police officer, who told one of them: “What is your problem with Kenneth? He’s released on bail.”59 The complainants were later told that the case had been transferred from the divisional police station to the Kaduna state headquarters.

Local residents sent written complaints to the Commissioner of Police in Kaduna State and to federal level police and government officials in Abuja. In December, the police in Abuja appeared to be investigating the case and it was reported that the Kaduna police received orders to arrest Kenneth and the policemen involved in the killings. However, subsequently, one of the complainants was informed by sources in the police and the state government that the state governor had instructed the police not to pursue the case for fear that these or similar prosecutions would harm his prospects in the forthcoming elections.60 Local sources later reported that Kenneth was arrested and released on several occasions, but was never prosecuted. None of the other soldiers or policemen involved in these killings were charged either.61 The police superintendent who had been in the group which killed the eight men was seen in the area some days after the event.

On November 21 and 22, members of the security forces killed a number of other people in the nearby area of Kabala Doki, where there had been heavy fighting between Christians and Muslims. Some of those involved in these killings were normal civilian police, some were from the mounted troops62, and others were mobile police. Others were described as being in military uniform. Witnesses recognized and named several of the individual police officers involved in these incidents.

On November 21, at least eleven Muslim men, aged between sixteen and thirty, were killed by a group of policemen, including some mobile police; according to the testimonies of local residents, the policemen were led by DPO Superintendent Benjamin O. Omeji. They entered several houses and made everyone come out, kneel on the ground and put their hands on their heads. In one house, about twenty people were made to come out, one of whom was holding a small baby. Witnesses reported that one of the policemen was about to open fire when a Muslim soldier arrived and realized that all the people they had rounded up were Muslims. The soldier reportedly threatened to shoot the policeman if he shot at the people. Nevertheless, the police shot three people; two of them died, and a third was injured.63

The same DPO is alleged to have been involved in several other cases of shootings and injuries. A local resident told Human Rights Watch that the DPO himself shot a man dead on November 21. The man had gone to the police station to complain about policemen who had broken into his shop to loot it and had shot him in the arm. The man’s relatives, who followed him to the police station, reported that the DPO shot him from the veranda of the police station, then dumped his body in a gutter near a market, opposite the police station.64

These incidents were reported to the police, and the DPO and several other policemen were arrested on November 23 or 24. However, several witnesses were threatened by police officials when they gave their statements at the police station. At least two of them said that a police inspector was displeased that they had been encouraging other witnesses to report abuses to the police, and threatened to kill them. One witness also said that he was threatened by a police sergeant at the police headquarters. According to information received subsequently, the DPO was not actually detained, but asked to report to the state police command; he was not charged and was later posted out of the area. The other policemen who were arrested were detained for a few days, then released and posted elsewhere. When complainants asked the police officer in charge of the investigation for information about the progress of the case, they were told that it was still under investigation. The DPO who took over from Superintendent Benjamin O. Omeji had earlier called a meeting of the police community relations committee and members of the police division to gather information about the actions of the police in the area under his predecessor; however, Human Rights Watch is not aware of any concrete action taken as a result of the information presented during that meeting.65

On the morning of November 21, police from the mounted troops reportedly killed four commercial motorcyclists, near the Custom Command in Kabala Doki. They stopped them on their motorcycles at a junction opposite the mounted troops’ barracks, shot them, and set their bodies and their motorcycles on fire. Residents found their burnt bodies but were not able to identify the victims.66

Later the same day, a young man in his early twenties ran through a police roadblock, near the place where the four bodies were found. A policeman, who was not in full police uniform, shot him in the back of the head, from a distance. The man did not die immediately. An eyewitness said that the police followed him and shot him again at point-blank range. He fell on the ground and died.67

On November 22, a group of mobile policemen forced their way into a compound in Kabala Doki and took away a fifteen-year-old mechanic, Lawal Rabo, and his brother, twenty-year-old bus conductor, Buhari Rabo. The policemen stripped them, then shot them dead. Lawal Rabo was shot in the head, while Buhari Rabo was shot on several different parts of his body. Their bodies were found in the river.68

According to complaints made to the police, a group of around thirty policemen, including some mobile policemen, forced their way into the house of an Islamic schoolteacher in Kabala Doki, on the evening of November 21, shot dead an Islamic student and injured several others, one of whom was only ten years old. Witnesses identified one of the policemen as the clerk from Kabala Doki police station. A number of students were sleeping in three shops in the compound, where the teacher housed them. According to a complaint submitted to the Commissioner of Police, the policemen shot at the door of the first shop and broke it open, then shot dead one of the students, Babangida, aged eighteen. They beat several other students. They then forced their way into the second shop and shot a fifteen-year-old student, Abubakar Sule Alaramma, injuring him on the thigh. They then entered the third shop and beat several students there; one of them suffered a fractured arm. In the main house, they found Mallam Sule Alaramma, the Islamic school teacher, and clubbed him on the head.69

On November 22, seven mobile policemen shot dead a fifty-five-year-old man, Audu Dan Kauye, while he was fetching water to extinguish a fire in a neighboring house which had been set alight in the rioting. A twenty-year-old neighbor, Rabe Mudi, heard the gunshots and went to hide in his father’s house. The mobile police followed him in and shot and injured him too. They then arrested his father who was trying to help his injured son:

Rabe’s father was arrested by the police with the wheelbarrow he was conveying his shot boy to Kabala bus stop, dropped the boy and took the wheelbarrow and the boy’s father to the station. At Kabala police station, the policemen there tore the man’s clothes, beat him with cane and cut his body all over with knife and locked him the cell. They went back to burn the boy but were stopped by one of their police colleagues. 70

A neighbor who witnessed this incident claimed to have identified one of the attackers as Sama’ila Sarkin Kaje, a traditional leader of one of the Southern Kaduna ethnic groups. The witness said Sama’ila was wearing a military uniform at the time of the attack and claimed that he had shot Rabe himself.71

Witnesses also claimed to have identified Sama’ila in a number of other incidents which occurred on November 22. That morning, two men in military uniform forced their way into a house in Kabala Doki and fired into the house. They arrested Muhammad Sabi’u Yusuf, aged eighteen, who was visiting his uncle there. According to members of his family, the attackers dragged him out of the house and beat him up. Then they tied his hands behind his back and took him to the police station. There they handed him over to the DPO who, according to relatives, gave instructions to the police to shoot him. He was reportedly shot in the head, arm and chest inside the police station, and his body was dumped in the ditch outside the police station, from where his parents retrieved his corpse. Witnesses claimed that Sama’ila was one of the two men in military uniform who beat the victim and took him to the police station where he was killed.72

In another reported incident, Sama’ila was identified by witnesses as one of a group of men in military uniform who forced their way into a house on Mai Kwankwatsa Road, in Kabala Doki and shot two young men:

On Friday at approximately 9 a.m., Sama’ila Sarkin Kaje, in military uniform, arrived in the company of others wearing similar military outfit and broke the main gate to [the] compound. […] The people were sitting in the compound, and all ran into their rooms […]; they pursued them into the middle room, where a pregnant woman […] screamed the Islamic creed [there’s no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet]. Sarkin Kaje (Sama’ila) slapped the woman very hard and entered the room and dragged Aliyu Ya’u out, a twenty-two-year old, as well as Babangida Mai Nama, a twenty-five-year old. They were both forced down, and were shot through the heart. Aliyu Ya’u died instantly after calling the name of his mother once […] Thereafter, Sama’ila Sarkin Kaje told the rest of his group to go and finish […] After they left, the occupants of the house came out and carried Babangida Mai Nama to Hospital 44, because he was not yet dead. 24 hours later, on Saturday 23 November 2002, he died.73

Killings by the security forces in other areas

Several people were killed by soldiers in the Nasarawa area, on November 23 and 24. Among the victims was Yakubu Baggah, a Christian father of three, in his thirties, who worked in a textile factory. He was shot outside his house on the morning of November 23, while youths were rioting and burning houses in the area. His wife was in the house at the time:

We were renting our house in a compound; there were about eight families there. The men, including my husband, went out. All I saw later was my husband’s body. He had about five gunshot wounds, in the neck, chest and hands. This was just about ten minutes after he left. He was the only one in our compound who was killed; another received a bullet in his leg […] The man who brought my husband’s corpse said one man had shot him five times and then ran away. 74

A Christian community leader witnessed Yakubu Baggah’s death, as well other killings by soldiers on both days:

I saw a soldier shoot a man dead in front of me, on Saturday morning. The soldier had two stripes on his uniform. He was from the army. Soldiers were chasing people. A man was trying to enter his house. They shot him outside the house. He was Yakubu Baggah, a Christian, aged about thirty-two. I could see he was not holding any weapon. The soldier aimed at him directly. He shot him in the chest from the front. It was on Nasarawa road, after the market. He died on the spot. Then the soldier just walked away. When the soldiers were chasing people, they were mostly shooting in the air. He was the only one there who was shot at directly. It was clearly deliberate. […]

On Friday, when I was going to the chief’s palace, on the main street, I saw soldiers shooting in the air. We lifted our arms. They said: “go back.” Then the soldiers shot the secretary of the chief, Joseph Yaro, a man in his forties. He was with us, near his house. We were together. I said: “let’s go back.” The secretary was trying to enter the house when he was shot. They shot him directly, in the waist. There was no warning. We took him inside the house but he died immediately. The soldiers then argued with each other, pointing to each other. We presumed they realized they had made a mistake. 75

In the village of Nariya, soldiers arrived on Friday morning, the day after the attack by Muslim youths. According to local residents, about thirteen soldiers approached a group of young men who were standing together in the village; the young men were not armed, apart from one who was holding a stick. The soldiers rounded them up and asked them where their arms were. Then the soldiers opened fire. One of the victims, Ibrahim Danjuma, aged about twenty-five, was shot point-blank in the chest; the bullet went through him and he died. Another, Danladi Sabo, was injured but survived. The soldiers also arrested about twenty-five people in Nariya; they stripped some of them naked and beat them with the butts of their guns. Ten of those arrested were released following the intervention of the village chief. The remaining fifteen were still detained in mid-December. They were held for about six days in the military barracks before being transferred to Kaduna prison. Some were later discharged and others released on bail.76

On the morning of November 22, several people were shot dead when Muslim youths clashed with soldiers near a mosque in Kawo. According to members of a local human rights organization who spoke to eyewitnesses, Muslim youths had set up a roadblock on the main road, supposedly to protect the mosque from attacks. When some soldiers came along the road, the youths refused to let them pass. After firing warning shots, which the youths ignored, the soldiers opened fire, killing about five at the roadblock. Local human rights investigators reported that the soldiers then killed a further ten youths who were protecting the mosque, without firing warning shots first.77

A village head in Trikania told Human Rights Watch that he knew of at least twelve people who had been killed by soldiers in his area: six Christians and six Muslims. The Muslims included Ibrahim Nazifi, Kawu, and Ibrahim Mohammed. The Christians included Isa, aged thirty-five, Baban Friday, aged forty, Sunday, aged twenty-eight, and three other men aged between thirty and forty. The soldiers reportedly shot them after ordering people to disperse and drop their weapons; however, Human Rights Watch was not able to confirm the exact circumstances of these deaths. It is not known whether the victims were armed. In addition, a Yoruba man who happened to be passing by was killed by a stray bullet.78

Human Rights Watch spoke to several hospital patients who were being treated for injuries sustained as a result of shootings by soldiers. Some admitted that they had been involved in rioting, but said that the soldiers shot directly at them without trying to arrest them. For example, a twenty-one-year-old Muslim from Sabon Gari, who was shot in the stomach, said he was among those rioting and attacking Christians. He said the soldiers arrested some people on November 22, then shot others at random:

A soldier shot me right in front of the house […] They shot me from afar. They were shooting at random. First they shot in the air but people weren’t scared, so they shot directly at us. I was shot in the stomach, with one bullet. I know of five people who died from shooting: Musa Mohammed (aged twenty-five), Ibrahim Abdullahi (aged twenty-one), Ahmed Audu (aged thirty), Kabiru Isa (aged twenty) and Yakubu Isa (aged thirty). The first three were shot in front of their house. The last two were trying to resist the Christians burning their house. 79

Others claimed that they had not been participating in the violence or rioting and that they were shot without any form of provocation. For example, a twenty-five-year-old Muslim from Nasarawa, who was seriously injured in his thigh, described how soldiers entered the house where he was staying:

When our house was burnt, I went to a relative’s house. There were about thirty of us hiding in the compound. On Saturday, at about 11 a.m., the soldiers came in the back way. They came into the house and shot indiscriminately. Muazu Musa, my older brother, was shot in the throat. The bullet came out of his head. He died instantly. The soldiers broke into the room where I was hiding with two boys and one girl. One boy and the girl were shot; they went to hospital and were later discharged. I was shot through the back of the thigh; the bullet came out. The bullet also brushed my wrist. The soldiers came in three trucks. Each truck carries about twenty soldiers. They didn’t say anything. They just started shooting. They were shooting directly at us.

On Thursday and Friday, Christians had invaded our area, which is majority Muslim. The chief told us to be calm. He invited the soldiers to protect us. These same soldiers then shot us. 80

Some people claimed that the soldiers targeted and shot more Muslims than Christians; this could have been in part because Muslim youths had initiated the violence on the first day, and Muslims may then have been held responsible for most of the events that followed. Among the testimonies gathered by Human Rights Watch, there appeared to be a greater proportion of Muslims than Christians killed or injured by soldiers. However, other residents of Kaduna denied that the soldiers were targeting people according to their religion. A twenty-five-year old Muslim farmer from Kabala West described the actions of soldiers on November 21, near his house:

I went towards my house. The area was divided into Christian and Muslim areas. My own house is close to a Christian house. The Christians were advancing to burn [my] house. People were throwing stones at each other. The soldiers came. They were shooting at Christians and Muslims indiscriminately. They were shooting at people, not in the air. I was hit by a stray bullet in the hand. The soldiers said nothing. They just started shooting. When I came here [to the hospital], I found out that a Muslim neighbour had been killed, Mohammed, a young man. He was trying to come home when he was shot directly. It was not a stray bullet. Seven others were injured, including me. […] None of those shot had any weapons. 81

The victims also included children. A fourteen-year-old boy was among a group of teenagers who were shot by soldiers on the evening of November 22, as they were leaving their evening class at the Nuru Islam school in Rigasa, a predominantly Muslim area:

On Friday, I was in my Arabic night class. People from other areas which were not safe came over. The teacher told us not to move and to stay in the classroom. Then we heard gunshots. People started running. We saw soldiers moving towards us. The teacher told us to go to our homes. About five of us left the classes. We had just left the school premises and were just walking when the soldiers shot at us. They didn’t say anything. The bullets hit us from the back. A bullet came into me from the back. Four other boys who were in my class died on the spot: Mohammedu (aged fifteen) and Ibrahim (aged eighteen) and two others older than me. 82

A Christian community elder in the Nasarawa area, who saw many people killed and injured in the fighting, also criticized the soldiers for aggravating the situation: “The army was supposed to put things in order, but they were shooting and killing people […] A Yoruba man from Kabba, in Kwara State, who was a Christian, was killed by soldiers as he was trying to quench a fire with water; a fire had started near his house. The army came. They thought he was pouring petrol. They didn’t ask him; they just opened fire.”83

In some cases, soldiers gave verbal warnings to rioters to disperse, or fired warning-shots in the air. When rioters refused or failed to disperse, the soldiers shot at them directly. There were contradictory testimonies on the circumstances of some of these incidents, on whether the people shot by the soldiers were participating in the violence or not, or on whether they were carrying weapons. However, the concern remains that in many instances, soldiers deployed lethal force in situations where neither their lives nor the lives of others appeared to be jeopardized.84 For example, a Muslim man in Kabala Doki reported that his two sons, in their early twenties, were shot dead by the military and their burnt bodies were found lying on the street. According to a journalist who saw the dead bodies, the victims’ father claimed that the soldiers had taken his sons out of their house; other witnesses claimed that his sons had been part of the crowd which had been looting and fighting. According to the latter version, the young men ignored orders by the soldiers to go home and continued advancing even after the soldiers shot in the air; the soldiers then fired at them and they died. Neither Human Rights Watch nor the journalist who interviewed the witnesses were able to confirm which version was correct; however, all the witnesses appeared to agree that the two men had been shot dead directly by the soldiers.85

There were also numerous cases where soldiers beat people and subjected them to other kinds of ill-treatment, either because they suspected them of participating in the riots and attacks, or, more often, because they were caught breaking the curfew, even by just a few minutes. A Christian community leader in Nasarawa told Human Rights Watch:

The soldiers don’t distinguish between Christians and Muslims. Later on Friday, they were given instructions to deal with the rioters. They beat people with gun-butts and whips. I saw ten youths, Christians and Muslims, brought close to my house. The soldiers made them lie down and strip to their trousers or made them kneel. They caned them with whips. Those who resisted were hit with gun-butts and kicked. Some were apparently caught looting and burning, but some were just trying to remove their own belongings. They were mostly young boys, from seventeen years old, up to about thirty. They were taken away by the soldiers, I don’t know where to. I heard they were taken to the barracks but when we went there, they said no one was there and they had been handed to the police.86

40 See for example Human Rights Watch reports “Testing democracy: political violence in Nigeria,” April 2003, and “Jos: a city torn apart,” December 2001. Extrajudicial killings by the police were also reported during the 2000 Kaduna riots.

41 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), G.A. res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force Mar. 23, 1976, article 6. Nigeria ratified the covenant in 1993.

42 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, adopted June 27, 1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5 (1982), entered into force Oct. 21, 1986., article 4.

43 Human Rights Committee, General Comment 6, Article 6 (Sixteenth session, 1982), Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, U.N. Doc. HRI\GEN\1\Rev.1 at 6 (1994), paragraph 3.

44 Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, U.N. Doc. A/34/46 (1979), adopted by U.N. General Assembly resolution 34/169 on December 17, 1979, articles 2 & 3.

45 Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, U.N. Doc. A/CONF.144/28/Rev.1 at 112 (1990), adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, 1990, principles 4 & 5.

46 Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, recommended by Economic and Social Council Resolution 1989/65 of May 24, 1989. Paragraph 1 of this resolution recommends that these principles be taken into account and respected by governments within the framework of their national legislation and practices. While these principles do not have the same legal significance as treaties, they constitute the most authoritative and comprehensive guidelines for governments on the investigation and prevention of extrajudicial executions.

47 Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, article 1.

48 See, e.g. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 8; ICCPR, article 2; and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, article 14 (containing an express provision for an “enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible.”). Other non-binding international instruments also provide guidance on reparations. Principle 29 (2) of the U.N. Guiding Principles on International Displacement provides that internally displaced persons should be provided with compensation or other just reparation for property lost during the course of displacement. Further guidance on compensation can be found in the “Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law,” drafted by M. Cherif Bassiouni, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to restitution, compensation, and rehabilitation for victims of gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is available online at 42bd1bd544910ae3802568a20060e21f?Opendocument (retrieved June 19, 2003).

49 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. res. 217A (III), U.N. Doc A/810 at 71 (1948), article 8.

50 ICCPR, article 2.

51 U.N. Human Rights Committee, Draft General Comment on Article 2, The Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant Unedited Version, U.N. Doc.

52 Civil defence groups are paramilitary organizations that sometimes assist the police in maintaining law and order, for example at public events or in situations of emergency. They are composed mostly of civilians but may include retired military or police officers. They do not usually carry firearms.

53 Human Rights Watch interviews, Kabala Costain, Kaduna, December 11, 2002.

54 Human Rights Watch interview, Kabala Costain, Kaduna, December 11, 2002.

55 Human Rights Watch interview, Kabala Costain, Kaduna, December 11, 2002.

56 Ibid.

57 Human Rights Watch interview, Kabala Costain, Kaduna, December 11, 2002.

58 Human Rights Watch interviews in Kabala Costain, Kaduna, December 11, 2002, and letter from the victim’s relatives to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, dated November 23, 2002. The letter states that the victim was attacked a first time on November 22 in Kabala Doki by a team of mobile police led by Kenneth, who broke into his compound, shot him in the thigh and ran away; the letter then alleges that the same team led by Kenneth followed him to Kabala Costain and killed him along with the other victims by the riverside.

59 Human Rights Watch interview, Kabala Costain, Kaduna, December 11, 2002.

60 Correspondence between Human Rights Watch and sources in Kaduna, January 2003.

61 Correspondence between Human Rights Watch and sources in Kaduna, May 2003.

62 The mounted troops is a section of the Nigeria Police Force used for crowd control during public events. It is distinct from the paramilitary mobile police.

63 Human Rights Watch interview, Abuja, December 16, 2002, and subsequent correspondence with sources in Kaduna.

64 Ibid.

65 Correspondence between Human Rights Watch and sources in Kabala Costain, May 2003.

66 Human Rights Watch interview, Abuja, December 16 and subsequent correspondence with sources in Kabala Costain, January 2003.

67 Ibid.

68 Human Rights Watch interview, Abuja, December 16, 2002, and letter to the Kaduna State Police Commissioner from a neighbor of the victims, dated November 22, 2002.

69 Letter to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, not dated, translated from Hausa.

70 Letter to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police by relatives of Audu Dan Kauye, dated November 23, 2002.

71 Ibid.

72 Letter to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police by relatives of Muhammad Sabi’u Yusuf, November 24, 2002, translated from Hausa. Human Rights Watch has not been able to verify whether Sama’ila was indeed involved in these incidents or whether the other individuals involved in these incidents were real soldiers or policemen. Sama’ila was one of five leaders arrested by the police in January 2003 in connection with the events of November 2002. They were all released without charge.

73 Letter to the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police by relatives of the victims, November 24, 2002, translated from Hausa.

74 Human Rights Watch interview, Nasarawa, Kaduna, December 11, 2002.

75 Human Rights Watch interview, Nasarawa, Kaduna, December 12, 2002.

76 Human Rights Watch interviews, Nariya, Kaduna, December 9, 2002, and subsequent correspondence with sources in Kaduna.

77 Human Rights Watch interview, Kaduna, December 10, 2002.

78 Human Rights Watch interview, Trikania, Kaduna, December 10, 2002.

79 Human Rights Watch interview, Tudun Wada, Kaduna, December 10, 2002.

80 Human Rights Watch interview, Tudun Wada, Kaduna, December 10, 2002.

81 Human Rights Watch interview, Tudun Wada, Kaduna, December 10, 2002.

82 Human Rights Watch interview, Tudun Wada, Kaduna, December 10, 2002.

83 Human Rights Watch interview, Nasarawa, Kaduna, December 12, 2002.

84 The U.N.Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials states in article 3: “In general, firearms should not be used except when a suspected offender offers armed resistance or otherwise jeopardizes the lives of others and less extreme measures are not sufficient to restrain or apprehend the suspected offender.”

85 Human Rigths Watch interview, Lagos, December 4, 2002.

86 Human Rights Watch interview, Nasarawa, Kaduna, December 11, 2002.

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July 2003