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Nigerian police and troops carried out more than 90 summary executions in suppressing violent religious and political rioting in the central city of Jos, Human Rights Watch alleged on Saturday.
LAGOS (AFP) — Nigerian police and troops carried out more than 90 summary executions in suppressing violent religious and political rioting in the central city of Jos, Human Rights Watch alleged on Saturday.
It listed a dozen separate incidents in which mainly Muslim men and youths were gunned down by men in uniform after the local state governor ordered security authorities to shoot curfew-breakers on sight.
Violence swept Jos on November 28 and 29 in reaction to a disputed election result, with hundreds killed in clashes between Christians and Muslims and buildings destroyed, including churches and mosques.
In a report published on Saturday, the US-based rights group referred to "seven separate incidents of arbitrary killing by the police during which at least 46 men and boys, all but two of them Muslims, were killed".
"The vast majority of police killings were perpetrated by a specially trained anti-riot unit called the Police Mobile Force, known locally as the MOPOLs," it said.
It quoted a mechanic as saying that a score of MOPLS had massacred at least 26 people in a garage.
HRW also listed "six incidents involving the arbitrary killing of 47 men by the military. According to witnesses, all of the victims were Muslim men, nearly all were young, and most were unarmed at the time."
In one incident, it said, "Witnesses described how four men wearing military uniforms and carrying assault rifles broke into three houses on two adjacent streets and gunned down at least 25 unarmed young men found hiding in these homes."
The report said, "Most of the killings came on the same day after the Plateau State governor issued a 'shoot-on-sight' order to security personnel on November 29."
It quoted Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, as saying: "The duty of the police and military was to stop the bloodshed generated by this extremely tragic episode of inter-communal violence, not contribute to it.
"The Nigerian authorities should immediately set up an independent investigation into these extremely serious allegations."
HRW also quoted military spokesman Brigadier General Emeka Onwuamaegbu as saying: "Our soldiers went out with very strict instructions to use minimum force and follow the rules of engagement."
The assistant commissioner of police in charge of operations in Plateau State, Oga Ero, told the rights group: "There was no order by my officers to shoot on sight as far as I was aware of."
The state government said about 200 people died in the clashes, although other sources put the toll at twice that figure.
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