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Children recount ordeal in military detention

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According to reports, children detained by the Nigerian army in recent years have reported how security agencies kept them in horrible conditions.

In a recent report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the children talked about how they were abused and some of their classmates lost their lives.

The report, whose copy was obtained by TheCable, described in detail how approximately 3,600 children were detained in military facilities in the north-east where Boko Haram’s war was fought.

It is said that most of them are detained in Maiduguri, capital of the state of Borno, for alleged participation in the Boko Haram insurgents, although the army has denied the complaint.

Some of the children, now released, told how they saw their peers die in custody.

According to reports, Abdulrahman, 16, spent six months in the adult cell before being transferred to the children’s cell “for another two years”.

“I saw people die in both cells. In the adult cell many people died, I can’t say the number. In the children’s cell I saw about 10 deaths,” he said.

“It was during the hot season, they were in distress. They carried them to the hospital but they died. Some died in the cell and soldiers came to carry their corpse.”

Saeed, aged 17, said he was detained in Banki, Borno, and maltreated during interrogation, and that “some people had their hands broken and suffered severe injuries from the beatings.”

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“They asked me if I was a member of Boko Haram and beat me up when I said no. They tied my hands and legs and hung me to a tree and continued to flog me. They flogged me and left me tied to the tree from morning till evening,” he added.

“Members of the CJTF did the beating but the soldiers were there. They were working together. They shot some people and even beat others to death with sticks during interrogation. One person from my village was killed during the interrogation.”

The teenager also said there were no toilets in their cells, adding: “We had buckets in the cells. One for feces and one for urine. People had to use them in full view of others, and it smelled badly.

“They were emptied once every day. We suffered this for three or four months until the Red Cross intervened by building a toilet inside the room and then put a wall to separate the toilet for some privacy.”

The children interviewed further narrated tales of “severe overcrowding” in their cells.

“We were so close you couldn’t put one finger between one person and the next,” a 15 year-old child whose name was not given said.

Below is the video of the children narrating their experience as published by HRW:

 

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