Nigerian Security Forces Killed Civilians Unlawfully, Panel Says

Nigeria’s security forces illegally killed eight civilians in a raid in the capital, Abuja, last September, the country’s National Human Rights Commission said.

The commission said there was no credible evidence to back up claims by the state security police that they came under fire while investigating a weapons cache believed to belong to Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The victims were squatters in a building under construction, it said.

“They were, therefore, protected, civilian non-combatants,” the government-established body said in a statement posted in its website yesterday. “The application of lethal force was disproportionate and the killings of the eight deceased persons as well as the injuries to the eleven survivors were unlawful.”

The commission suggested that the government pay 10 million naira ($61,031) in compensation for each of the dead men.

Marilyn Ogar, spokeswoman for security agency, the Department of State Services, didn’t answer calls to her mobile phone today.

Boko Haram has been fighting for four years to impose Shariah, or Islamic law, in Africa’s biggest oil producer. Brussels-based International Crisis Group said this month the conflict, confined to the northeast of the country, has killed more than 4,000 people and forced almost half a million to flee their homes.

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