the military on Sunday dismissed A video clip obtained by Reuters news agency showing Nigerian troops allegedly shooting unarmed captives by the roadside in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, the base of the terrorist Islamic group, Boko Haram.
The military has long been accused of human rights abuses, including summary executions, in the troubled areas but there has been no video proof since the first crackdown on the sect in 2009.
A spokesman for the army said it was “impossible” for Nigerian troops to commit such actrocities.
The video was said to have been shot by a soldier who claimed to be present while the shootings took place two weeks ago.
The soldier, who requested anonymity, passed it on to Reuters on Sunday.
In the grainy footage, a man who sat down next to four corpses pleaded for his life while soldiers shouted at him and a crowd looked on a few meters away.
“Please, don’t fire,” the man pleaded in the video.
Then, one of the soldiers kicked him in the head before two soldiers aimed assault rifles and shot him.
Four gunshots were heard and the man lay still.
But Nigerian Army spokesman, Mohammed Yerima, a Colonel, who claimed not to have seen the video, however insisted that the events must have been staged.
“How can they do that? It is not possible. This is the Boko Haram tactics,” he said.
“They will do the killing, say it is the military and then Amnesty International and so on will blame us. It is not possible for Nigerian troops to act in this way.”
Military forces have repeatedly denied accusations of such abuses, saying the only times they kill suspected militants is during combat.
United States Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Michael Posner said on Friday U.S. was seriously concerned by reported abuses committed by Nigerian security forces in their efforts to quell the Boko Haram insurgency.
Such alleged abuses usually occur shortly after members of the security forces have been killed or wounded in an attack by the sect members.
The killings in the video happened after a bomb attack on a military patrol, the soldier who provided the footage said.
Another video from the same source, which was said to have been taken after the executions, showed soldiers piling up about two dozen bodies in two bloody heaps on the ground from the back of a military truck.
The videos could spur renewed calls for Nigeria’s security forces to change their approach to the insurgency, which critics say is prompting desperate, angry youths to join Boko Haram and encouraging the Northern population to shelter them.
Amnesty International issued a report this month condemning human rights abuses allegedly committed by security forces. The group claimed that the extra-judicial killings were fuelling the conflict they were meant to end.
The report said a “significant number” of people accused of links with Boko Haram had been executed after arrest without due process, while hundreds were detained without charge or trial and many of those arrested disappeared or were later found dead.”
Meanwhile, unknown gunmen on Sunday morning shot dead one police Inspector on Nasarawa road in the Bauchi metropolis.
It was gathered that the police officer, Babangida Dambaba, was killed at about 5.40 a.m. after praying in a mosque.
A source who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said, “Babangida went to a nearby mosque to observe early morning prayer and after the prayer, he left the mosque and was going back home when he was shot by the gunmen.”
The late officer was one of the policemen attached to the Government House, Bauchi.
Bauchi State Police Commissioner, Mohammed Ladan, confirmed the incident on telephone.