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Press briefing notes on Nigeria

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Cécile Pouilly
Location: Geneva
Date: 5 November 2013

We strongly condemn this weekend’s atrocious attack on a wedding convoy in Borno State, Nigeria.

On November 2, some 30 guests arriving from a wedding were ambushed and killed along the Bama-Mubi-Banki road, in Borno State. This road, which is located close to the border with Cameroon, is notorious for attacks by Boko Haram. During the attack, a Joint task Forces post was burned down and 4 soldiers killed. A bridge link to the nearby town of Mubi was also bombed.

According to information we have received, there are attacks almost on a daily basis in the North East of Nigeria, especially in Borno and neighbouring areas.
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.

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.

We are 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 report of a panel established by the Chief of Defence Staff to audit and review the cases of people held in connection with the insurgency is about to be finalised. We request the Government to disclose the outcome of the audit.

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.

ENDS

For further information and media requests, please contact Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 or +41 79 618 3430 / cpouilly@ohchr.org ) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org )

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