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Controversial video shows soldiers shooting Civilians in Borno.

A video obtained by Reuters has allegedly exposed Nigerian troops shooting unarmed captives in broad daylight by the roadside in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the bastion of an Islamist insurgency.
Nigeria’s military had long been accused of human rights abuses, including summary executions, in the troubled north but there had been no video proof since the first crackdown on the Islamist sect, Boko Haram in 2009.

A spokesman for the Army said it was “impossible” for Nigerian troops to do such a thing. Boko Haram is fighting to carve an Islamic state out of Nigeria, and its fighters had killed hundreds in bomb and gun attacks, many of them from the security forces, since beginning, the uprising three years ago.

The video was taken by a soldier who said he was present while the shootings took place two weeks ago.
The soldier, who requested anonymity, passed it to Reuters yesterday.
In the grainy footage, a man sits down next to three or four corpses piled together on the roadside.

He pleads for his life while soldiers shout at him and a crowd looks on a few meters away. “Please don’t fire,”the man says in pidgin English. He tries to stand up and get onto the back of a pick up truck to the left. A Nigerian soldier shouts “come out”, and drags him off it, shoving him on the ground. One of them kicks him in the head. Then he and another soldier aimed assault rifles at him. Four gunshots were heard and the man lay still next to the others.

Nigerian army spokesman Colonel Mohammed Yerima said he had not seen the video but that the events must have been staged. “How can they do that? It is not possible. This is the Boko Haram tactics,” he said. “They will do the killing and say it’s the military and then Amnesty International and so on will blame us. It’s not possible for Nigerian troops to act in this way.”

Nigerian Army Forces had repeatedly denied accusations of such abuses, saying the only time they killed suspected militants was during combat. Those captured were questioned or freed, they said. Such alleged abuses usually occur shortly after members of the security forces had been killed or wounded in an attack by the sect.

The killings in this video happened after a bomb attack on a military patrol further up the road, the soldier who provided the footage said. Another video from the same source, which he said was taken after the executions, showed soldiers piling up about two dozen bodies in two bloody heaps on the ground from the back of a military truck.

The videos could spur renewed calls for Nigeria’s security forces to change their approach to the insurgency, which critics said was prompting desperate, angry youths to join Boko Haram and encouraging the northern population to shelter them. That uprising was sparked by a military crackdown on the sect, in which hundreds were killed, including its founder and spiritual leader Mohammed Yusuf, who died in police custody.

President Goodluck Jonathan had been accused of treating the conflict as a security problem that could be solved with force alone, rather than addressing the root causes of the insurgency. Amnesty International issued a report this month in which it said human rights abuses committed by security forces were fuelling the conflict they were meant to end.

The report said a “significant number” of people accused of links with Boko Haram had been executed after arrest without due process, while hundreds were detained without charge or trial and many of those arrested disappeared or were later found dead. The Nigerian military rejected that report, including accusations that they execute suspects, as “biased and mischievous.”

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