Amnesty International on Wednesday urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate armed attacks, looting and rapes reportedly committed by the Boko Haram in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State.
“The International Criminal Court must immediately open a full investigation into the atrocities committed by all sides, and ensure those responsible are held accountable, including for crimes against women and girls,” read a statement issued by Amnesty International Wednesday.
Citing interviews of villagers in Borno State, the rights group said some attackers wore Nigerian military uniforms, while others wore traditional clothes.
“Witnesses said they knew the perpetrators belonged to Boko Haram, and not the Nigerian military, for several reasons. They could hear the fighters speaking languages common among Boko Haram members; the fighters came on motorbikes, not military vehicles; and the fighters dressed in a combination of attire. Even those fighters wearing stolen Nigerian military uniforms often wore sandals or had bare feet, instead of military boots,” Amnesty said.
Amnesty International also cited witnesses that some children, aged between 15 and 17 years, were also among the militants, along with men in their twenties.
“As Boko Haram continue their relentless cycle of killings, abductions and looting, they are also subjecting women and girls to rape and other sexual violence during their attacks. These atrocities are war crimes,” Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria, was quoted as saying in the statement.
“The targeted communities have been abandoned by the forces that are supposed to protect them, [..] The Nigerian authorities must urgently address this issue,” Ojigho said.