Nigerian troops said killed 23 after bomb

July 26, 2011 at 8:08 PM

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, July 26 (UPI) -- Nigerian security forces killed nearly two dozen people following a weekend bombing in Maiduguri, Amnesty International charged Tuesday.

The international human rights group called for the Nigerian government to put an end to what it called the extreme responses of the Nigerian security forces.

"President Goodluck Jonathan must get a grip on the Nigerian armed forces and immediately prevent them from carrying out further human rights violations and unlawful killings," Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International's deputy director for Africa, said in a release. "The government must now investigate these heinous crimes and put on trial those found to be responsible for the killings. Allowing troops to go on the rampage will not bring to justice those who carry out these terrible bomb attacks on civilians."

The release was prompted by the killing of at least 23 people following a bombing in a market in central Maiduguri, allegedly planted by Boko Haram, an Islamist group.

Amnesty International has collected numerous reports that the government's joint task force has resorted to unlawful killings, dragnet arrests, arbitrary and unlawful detentions, extortion and intimidation.

"Soldiers went on the rampage. They shot several people and burned all their shops and properties and burned their cars," one person told Amnesty International.

The task force was created in June in response to the increase in attacks by people believed to be members of Boko Haram. More than 250 people have been killed in attacks such as the bombing of the Budum market, many of which target police and government officials.

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