Conflict & Justice

Kerry urges Nigeria to respect human rights in Boko Haram offensive


Female student stands in a burnt classroom at Maiduguri Experimental School, a private nursery, primary and secondary school burnt by the Islamist group Boko Haram to keep children away from school in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria on May 12, 2012.



US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged the Nigerian military to apply “disciplined use of force” and respect human rights and the rule of law as it pushes back against Boko Haram Islamist militants in the northeast.

The offensive, launched this week, is Nigeria’s biggest attack on Boko Haram since the group became active in 2010, BBC News reported.

More from GlobalPost: Nigerian military kills at least 21 in Boko Haram offensive

“The United States condemns Boko Haram’s campaign of terror in the strongest terms,” Kerry said. But, he added, “we are also deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations, which, in turn, only escalate the violence and fuel extremism.”

After Boko Haram rejected Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s call for amnesty last month, the president declared a state of emergency in the Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

On Saturday, Nigeria's security forces imposed a 24-hour curfew in 11 areas of the city of Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, which has served as a base for Boko Haram Islamist militants, BBC News reported.

The Nigerian military said its war planes and helicopter gunships destroyed several Boko Haram training camps in the northeast on Friday and also arrested 65 "terrorists" in Maiduguri, according to BBC News.