This new report from the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) highlights an unfortunate fact we have pointed out here many times: that all too often, the persecution of Christians is not carried out by rogue individuals or groups, but by the police, or even the legal and governing authorities. The Christians of Nigeria, including its growing Orthodox Christian community, are suffering from a ruthless persecution that has continued with sporadic attacks for years, and has been escalating recently. This report confirms previous allegations that the Nigerian military itself has aided Islamist groups in attacks on Christian communities. The Nigerian government can and must act to protect its embattled Christian citizens.
“480, mostly Christians, killed in Nigerian ‘military massacres’ from 2015-2017: NGO report,” by Samuel Smith, Christian Post, February 5, 2019:
Nigerian military and security forces killed hundreds of mostly Christian ethnic Igbo civilians advocating for self-determination, in massacres that took place from 2015 to 2017, according to the most comprehensive report to date, which took three years to make.
The NGO International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) released a new 85-page report this week that purports to highlight how Nigerian military and security forces are responsible for the deaths of 480 and the injuring of over 500 other “unarmed and defenseless” civilians in crackdowns targeting Igbo self-determination activists and members of the Igbo population.
The crackdowns were carried out through various internal security operations in Southeast and other southern regions of Nigeria that have drawn criticism from those warning that the Nigerian military is being “deployed against unarmed civilians.”
The new Intersociety report, titled “Under Buhari & Osinbajo: Many Have Gone & Crippled For Life In Eastern Nigeria,” is based on three years of research that includes interviews with survivors, relatives and victims.
“Most, if not all the slain, wounded or abducted victims are members of the Nigerian Christian Faith and other non-Muslim religions,” the report reads. “Hospitals, where the wounded were taken to for treatment, were also invaded by soldiers at night or late evening during which some of them were abducted to unknown locations where they must have been shot dead and remained untraced.”
The report lists 10 locations identified during the course of Intersociety’s investigations where the killings and massacres occurred.
The report also lists seven significant “graveyards or dumping sites” where “the slain were shallowly buried, or burnt to ashes, or lacerated with suspected raw acid substances.” Other dead bodies were reportedly either dumped in the open, thrown off a bridge or left in secret or isolated places to decompose.”
The alleged killings highlighted in the report occurred as there has been a revival in the call for Biafra independence in the Igbo population in Southeast Nigeria, most of which are Christian in faith.
The secession of Biafra in 1967, which represented the aspirations of the Igbo people concerned about ethnic, economic and religious tensions, is what led to the Nigerian Civil War and deaths of over 2 million people from 1967 to 1970.
According to the report, the segment of the general Igbo and other non-Igbo Christian population affected by the massacres and killings were “exercising their rights to self-determination using nonviolence” through democratic assemblies such as street protests, picketing, prayers and worship, and religious processions.
The massacres in question were said to be part of the Nigerian Army’s “Operation Python Dance” and other internal security operations designed to stamp out “terrorist” activity, according to Intersociety.
However, the report refutes the government’s “terror” claim.
“This is the first time in the world an unarmed and defenseless self-determination group is dubbed ‘terror group,’” the report explains. “The intents and purposes for same were for intensification of the Government’s racial profiling and attempts to cover the massacre and escape from being held to account.”
Intersociety Board Chairman Emeka Umeagbalasi told CP that the organization decided to launch an investigation into the killings because “it is our region and we are professed Christians.”
“[This is so we are] able to put this in a database and in a document because the law says when a crime is committed and there is no documentation, then no crime has been committed,” Umeagbalasi, an Igbo criminologist, continued. “If a crime is committed by a perpetrator and they do not put it in writing or in black and white, then we [have no case] against the perpetrator. But when you put it in a database, the perpetrator can be tracked anytime or any day.”…