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FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA: Campaign of violence and abductions against civilians must end

9 May 2014
[International Secretariat]
Region: FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
Topic: Fight Against Terrorism and Human Rights

No group has claimed responsibility for last night's attack on Nyanya, outside Abuja, that killed 19 people.  © AFP/Getty Images
No group has claimed responsibility for last night's attack on Nyanya, outside Abuja, that killed 19 people. © AFP/Getty Images

A deadly car bombing in a suburb of the Nigerian capital Abuja on May 1 displays a callous disregard for human life and highlights the urgency of bringing an end to the campaign of violence against civilians being waged by Islamist armed groups in Nigeria, Amnesty International said.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the latest attack, which killed 19 people and injured more than 60 in the Abuja suburb of Nyanya. It comes less than three weeks after the armed group Boko Haram killed more than 70 people in a similar attack on the same area.

Boko Haram and other armed groups must renounce their unlawful and counterproductive campaign of violence against civilians. The Nigerian authorities, for their part, must do more to protect civilians and bring the perpetrators of all such attacks to justice.

More than 1,500 people have been killed since the beginning of 2014 amid fighting between Nigerian security forces and Islamist armed groups, which are based mainly in the north-east of the country but occasionally launch attacks in the capital and elsewhere. Last night’s attack comes just days before the World Economic Forum on Africa opens in Abuja on 7 May.

Abducted schoolgirls

The latest attack also comes as many Nigerians are demanding the release of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in an overnight raid by an armed group on 15 April. It is not yet known who is responsible, but Islamist groups including Boko Haram – whose name translates as a call to ban “Western” education – have carried out similar abductions on a smaller scale in the past.

Recently hundreds of people – including mothers of the abducted schoolgirls – marched to the National Assembly in Abuja to hand over a letter demanding more action from the Nigerian authorities to secure the girls’ release.

Amnesty International stands in solidarity with Nigerians calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the schoolgirls and an end to the armed groups’ abductions of civilians.

Armed groups carrying out such abductions should know that these are serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, and Amnesty International will keep urging the Nigerian authorities to ensure those responsible are brought to justice in fair trials.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
2 May 2014

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