3 Nov 2012

Nigeria troops 'shoot dead' unarmed men

Nigerian soldiers have shot dead dozens of young men during raids in a city seen as a stronghold of Boko Haram, an armed Islamist group, residents have told reporters. The reported military operations targeted four neighbourhoods of Maiduguri on Friday. Residents said the troops conducting the raids ordered males in their teens and twenties to separate from the others in the area. In the Kalari neighbourhood, soldiers told the young men "to lie face down on the ground", then asked the rest to look away, according to witnesses.

nigerian soldiers

"All we heard were gunshots. They shot them on the spot," said the elderly religious leader, who did not want to be named. "They did the same in three other neighbourhoods. We went to the morgue to collect the bodies and we found 48 in all." A resident of the city's Gwange area told the AFP news agency that the alleged massacre was "like a movie scene". The troops "picked young men from their homes and were shooting them dead before everyone and took the bodies away to the hospital. I have never seen something like this", he said, also requesting that his name be withheld.

The Sabon Lamba and Gomboru neighbourhoods were also said to have been raided. A morgue attendant at the Maiduguri General Hospital said they "received 39 bodies yesterday which were brought in by soldiers. They all have fresh gunshot wounds". A military source declined to comment on the allegations, saying only that if such killings had taken place they were "unjustified".

Al Jazeera English