The Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), a security based Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has condemned in strong terms the killing of at least 50 civilians by armed group on Sunday May 22 in Rann, Borno state Nigeria.
A statement by its Country Director Benson Olugbuo, noted that since 2009, Nigeria’s northeast and Borno state in particular have been the center of an armed insurgency with millions of people displaced and about 350,000 others dead from attacks and subsequent humanitarian crisis.
Olugbo who expressed worry over the continuous attacks in the region, regretted that 13 years after the start of insurgency, civilians still live in fear and threats to their lives.
He therefore, appealed to the government to take immediate actions by increasing security patrols in the affected communities to enable the safety of lives and properties.
“Civilians are being targeted over and over again in Northeast Nigeria. They continue to be slaughtered with impunity while farming and seeking livelihoods,” he lamented.
“We utterly condemn this attack and urge all parties to the conflict, state and non-state armed actors alike, to refrain from targeting and harming civilians. The perpetrators of civilian killings should be held accountable.
“This attack is only one among many attacks that continue to threaten the lives and livelihoods of civilians in Northeast Nigeria. Nearly 13 years after the start of the armed insurgency, women, men, and children are still living in fear, fleeing from one location to another and wondering when and where the next attack will be,” he noted.
“As the Nigerian military began investigating the attacks, CIVIC urges the Government of Nigeria to scale up security patrols in Borno State to reassure civilians and allow them to farm and carry out other livelihood related activities,” he added.
The Country Director noted that “many victims had their hands tied behind their backs before being executed according to eyewitnesses cited by local media”, adding that the civilians were allegedly targeted for their recent engagements with local government.
“CIVIC reminds all armed actors that civilians do not lose their protected status because they engage with government forces and should never be targeted for doing so.
“The Nigerian military should also consult civilian communities affected by this attack and other incidents about measures that could be taken to strengthen their self-protection strategies in order to minimize harm when attacks occur.