Nigeria: Victims of Reckless Air Strike Still Awaiting Justice a Year On

One year on from the deadly air strike that killed 40 people in Rukubi in Doma area of Nasarawa state, Isa Sanusi, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said:

“One year on and the Nigerian authorities have failed to ensure justice and accountability for the air strike that killed 40 people in Rukubi. This is simply too long a wait for the victims and their families, whose lives have been devastated by this atrocity, as justice delayed, is justice denied.

“The use of air strikes for law enforcement is unlawful and represents a reckless use of deadly force. The authorities’ consistent failure to hold the military to account for this disregard for human lives is only encouraging further such strikes, putting people living in rural areas, already beset by conflicts, in greater danger.”

“Air strikes with high numbers of unlawful killings have become the latest in a long list of gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Nigerian military.”

“The Nigerian authorities must give clear directives to the military to always prioritize and respect human rights while carrying out all types of security operations. President Bola Tinubu’s administration must carry out an independent, impartial and effective investigation into the air strike on Rukubi, as well as the many others that have resulted in unlawful killings. Those suspected of responsibility should be brought to justice in fair trials, including those with individual and command responsibilities of soldiers and senior military commanders.”

Background

The air strikes component of military operations across parts of Nigeria affected by spiraling conflicts has resulted in the death of hundreds of people over almost a decade. Before the latest military air strike on 3 December 2023 in Tudun Biri that killed more than 120 people, in December 2022, the Nigerian air force air strike killed 64 people in Mutumji village in Zamfara state. Following these air strikes, the Nigerian authorities took responsibility and tendered public apologies.

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