UN Urges FG To Restore Law And Order, Probe Mass Killings

The United Nations has called the Federal Government to restore law and order in the strife-riven northeastern part of the country and investigate “mass killings” of civilians by Boko Haram insurgents. On Monday, the Defence Headquarters said that at least 150 people were killed in clashes with Islamists in Baga, but the U.N. human rights office noted that there were “wildly differing” accounts with some reports putting the toll this year at 2,000.
“While the exact details remain unclear, what appears fairly certain is that mass killings and mass forced displacement have occurred,” U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing in Geneva.
“We urge the government to act swiftly to restore law and order while ensuring that security operations are conducted in line with international law and full respect for human rights.”
The military is battling to reclaim Baga from the militants, who want to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram has killed thousands in a five-year rebellion, which is seen as the biggest security threat to Africa’s top oil producer and is a headache for President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of what is likely to be a closely fought presidential election on 14 February.
Some 11,320 Nigerian refugees have fled the violence by crossing into neighbouring Chad since the start of the year, the U.N. refugee agency said.
“Some of them are stranded on an island on Lake Chad, called Kangala Island, there are about 2,000 of them there,” UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said, adding that the agency was transferring them to the Chad mainland.
U.N. aid agencies have not been able to verify the number of people displaced within Nigeria because of a lack of independent access to the areas affected, but stand ready to provide humanitarian assistance, OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke said.

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