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Nigerians Are Accusing the Army of Killing Civilians in Its Search for Boko Haram

Nigeria’s Army has been able to stem the advances and growth of terrorist group Boko Haram. But now, as Boko Haram’s numbers decrease, Nigerian residents are saying that the Nigerian military is resorting to the worst possible method of flushing out the remaining members.

Witnesses say the military would enter villages and ask for the members of Boko Haram to come forward. When no one came forward, they say the military would kill all the men present—many of them unarmed citizens.

“As more combatants from Boko Haram have been hiding within the civilian population, the line between who is civilian and who is not has been blurred,” Agnes Bjorn, a manager aid group for Plan International, told The New York Times. “It is, however, the responsibility of the Nigerian Army to protect civilians and clearly distinguish between civilians and combatants. Protecting civilians in war is part of international humanitarian law.”

Witnesses also accuse the military of burning down villages after evacuating them and detaining children and babies after freeing their parents from Boko Haram territories.

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Nigeria’s director of defense information denied the military’s involvement in these extrajudicial killings, saying that insurgents or cult members were really behind the killings instead.

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