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12 killed in attempted jailbreak in Nigeria

Posted by IOL on 2004/11/25 | Views: 886 |

12 killed in attempted jailbreak in Nigeria


Kaduna, Nigeria - Nigerian human rights activists accused police of extrajudicial killings on Friday after police said they killed 12 suspected robbers trying to break out of jail.

Kaduna, Nigeria - Nigerian human rights activists accused police of extrajudicial killings on Friday after police said they killed 12 suspected robbers trying to break out of jail.

The burial of the 12 in a mass grave in northern Kaduna last month prompted a formal inquiry by the state government after local residents in the mainly Muslim district of Tudun Wada claimed police had killed the group during a protest march.

"The 12 bodies were those of suspects arrested for different armed robbery incidents around Kaduna," Kaduna state police commissioner Mohammed Yesufu told the inquiry on Thursday, in comments obtained by Reuters on Friday.

"They were being distributed into cells when they tried to escape detention and were shot dead by the police," Yesufu said, adding that firearms and other weapons had been recovered.

But rights campaigners say the death of suspects in detention is widespread in Africa's most populous nation, where police have a reputation of shooting civilians at the slightest provocation.

"It has been a practice for a very long time for police to bring suspects from the cells and kill them extra-judicially," said Shehu Sani, president of lobby group Civil Rights Congress.

"This is just one instance of something that happens all the time. This one came to light only because of the rumour that they were killed in the protest," he added.

Unions said the police did kill one schoolboy in Kaduna during a four-day strike to protest against rising pump prices in the oil-exporting nation.

Innocent Chukwuma of the Centre for Law Enforcement Education of Nigeria said the police commissioner's admission did not mean an end to the Kaduna inquiry.

"By admitting they killed the suspects does not exonerate the police from culpability. The panel must go further to determine the circumstances in which the suspects were killed," Chukwuma said.

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