Nigeria: UN rights office condemns attack on wedding convoy which killed dozens

Cécile Pouilly, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Photo: OHCHR

5 November 2013 – The United Nations human rights office today strongly condemned the attack on a wedding convoy in Nigeria, which killed more than 30 people.

The guests were ambushed and killed on Saturday, along the Bama-Mubi-Banki road, in Borno State. The road is located close to the border with Cameroon which, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is notorious for attacks by the militant group known as Boko Haram.

During the attack, a Joint task Forces post was burned down and four soldiers killed. A bridge link to the nearby town of Mubi was also bombed.

“We strongly condemn the cowardly attacks by Boko Haram, who continue to target civilians, including students and worshippers, politicians, members of Government institutions, foreign nationals as well as security forces,” OHCHR spokesperson Cécile Pouilly told reporters in Geneva.

She added that attacks reportedly occur almost on a daily basis in the north-east of Nigeria, especially in Borno and neighbouring areas.

“Members of Boko Haram and other groups and entities, if judged to have committed widespread or systematic attacks against a civilian population – including on grounds such as religion or ethnicity – could be found guilty of crimes against humanity,” Ms. Pouilly said.

Boko Haram has also carried out attacks against schools in recent months. Since 16 June, a total of 48 students and seven teachers have reportedly been killed in four attacks in the region.

Ms. Pouilly said OHCHR is also following up closely with the Nigerian authorities allegations of abuses and human rights violations which may have been committed by security forces when conducting operations.

A panel report to audit and review the cases of people held in connection with the insurgency is about to be finalized, and OHCHR has requested the Government to disclose its outcome.

“We also call on the Nigerian Government to ensure that security forces act in conformity with the law and avoid excessive use of force when conducting operations,” Ms. Pouilly said.


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