Nigerian cops shoot first ask later

ABUJA - Hundreds of Nigerians are unlawfully killed by corrupt and ill-trained police officers each year and authorities are ignoring the problem, Amnesty International said yesterday.

ABUJA - Hundreds of Nigerians are unlawfully killed by corrupt and ill-trained police officers each year and authorities are ignoring the problem, Amnesty International said yesterday.

In a two-year investigation, Amnesty found rampant human rights violations including torture and executions of suspects committed by Nigerian police officers.

"The Nigerian police are responsible for hundreds of unlawful killings every year," director of Amnesty's Africa programme Erwin van der Borght said.

"The majority of the cases go uninvestigated and the police officers responsible go unpunished."

Armed robbery and kidnappings are common in Nigeria, especially in the oil-producing Niger Delta, with the security forces often overpowered by criminal gangs.

With low pay, minimal training and old equipment, police officers have often been accused of shooting first and asking questions later. More than 100 officers are killed in gun battles with criminals each year, Amnesty said.

"Many unlawful killings happen during police operations.

"In other cases, the police shoot and kill drivers who fail to pay them bribes at checkpoints," the report said. - Reuters

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