Abuja: Armed group Boko Haram killed at least 60 people when it renewed its attack on the northeast Nigerian town of Rann on Monday, rights group Amnesty International has said.
“This attack on civilians who have already been displaced by the bloody conflict may amount to possible war crimes, and those responsible must be brought to justice,” Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International’s Nigeria director, said in a statement on Friday.
“Witnesses told us that Nigerian soldiers abandoned their posts the day before the attack, demonstrating the authorities’ utter failure to protect civilians,” Ojigho said.
The attack, one of the bloodiest in Boko Haram’s decade-long conflict, came two weeks after it had overrun the same town, driving out Nigerian soldiers and marking its re-emergence as a force capable of taking army bases.
A security source said that Nigerian troops had returned to Rann, as well as Cameroonian troops from a Multi-National Joint Task Force, after the first attack, on January 14.
After the Cameroonians went back across the border, the Nigerian soldiers left, because they didn’t have enough troops, weapons or equipment, the source said.
Boko Haram has for several months been intensifying attacks on military targets, overrunning bases, killing troops and stealing weapons.
More than 27,000 people have been killed and some two million others displaced in Nigeria’s northeast alone in the past 10 years due to the violence.
The conflict has spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, triggering a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.