Boko Haram: Amnesty International seeks probe into Rann’s troops withdrawal

Amnesty International (AI) called on Nigerian authorities to investigate the alleged withdrawal of security forces of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) from Rann, which left tens of thousands of civilians exposed to the latest deadly attack.  

No fewer than 60 people were reportedly killed following the 28 January devastating Boko Haram attack on Rann, a border town in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, Amnesty International has revealed.

Boko Haram has consistently targeted civilians in Rann, which makes the Nigerian citizens exposed to attacks in the north-east region.

The international rights organization also released a clip showing hundreds of burned structures in the town, which are reportedly shelters for internally displaced persons seeking protection in Rann.

“We have now confirmed that this week’s attack on Rann was the deadliest yet by Boko Haram, killing at least 60 people. Using satellite imagery we have also been able to confirm the mass burning of structures as Boko Haram unleashed a massive assault on Rann, most of which is now destroyed,” AI said in a statement on Saturday.

“This attack on civilians who have already been displaced by the bloody conflict may amount to possible war crime, and those responsible must be brought to justice. Disturbingly, witnesses told us that Nigerian soldiers abandoned their posts the day before the attack, demonstrating the authorities’ utter failure to protect civilians,” Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria said.

Some of the reasons the organization gave for the deadly attack included the alleged withdrawal of troops which made civilians flee to Cameroon, as they feared been attacked by the insurgents.

“At around 9am on 28 January, a group of Boko Haram fighters arrived on motorcycles. They set houses ablaze and killed those left behind. They also chased after those who attempted to escape and killed some people outside the town.  Eleven bodies were found within Rann town, and 49 bodies were found outside” the statement said explaining the attack.

Also, Aid agencies have reported that some 30,000 civilians have fled for the border with Cameroon in recent days, joining a further 9,000 who fled Boko Haram’s previous attack on Rann on January 14.