Abuja - Human Rights Watch (HRW) said attacks by the Islamist armed group Boko Haram killed more than 1 000 civilians since the beginning of the year.
The global human rights group said the figure was based on witness accounts and an analysis of media reports.
“Each week that passes we learn of more brutal Boko Haram abuses against civilians,” said Mausi Segun, Nigeria researcher at HRW.
“The Nigerian government needs to make protecting civilians a priority in military operations against Boko Haram.”
HRW said findings underscored the human toll of the conflict between Boko Haram and forces from from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
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Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency says that nearly one million people have been forced to flee since the Islamist rebel group began its violent uprising in July 2009.
During 2014, HRW estimates that at least 3 750 civilians died during Boko Haram attacks in these areas.
HRW said attacks in the first quarter of 2015 have increased compared to the same period in 2014, including seven suicide bombings allegedly using women and children.
The group also abducted hundreds of women and girls many of whom were subjected to forced conversion, forced marriage, rape, and other abuse.
Scores of young men and boys are said to have been forced to join Boko Haram’s ranks or face death.
Boko Haram has killed an estimated 13 000 people since a bloody campaign it started six years ago to carve an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria
- CAJ News