04/20/2020 West Africa (International Christian Concern) – There have been reports of two major incidences with militaries killing Islamic extremist suspects or having them die in their care. Between these two incidences that took place over the past two weeks, nearly 75 people died while in the custody of the Chadian and Burkinabe security forces.
The first of these two incidents took place on April 9th when Burkinabe forces detained 31 people during a counterterrorism operation in the town of Djibo. The forces had swept through the town looking for insurgents who have been conducting attacks in Northern Burkina Faso. They also were looking for those who me be supporting the insurgents. According to Human Rights Watch, the military detained the 31 men for hours and then executed them. All of those detained were of Fulani decent. This atrocious act is starting to be carried out more often against innocent Fulani citizens in Burkina Faso as violence in the country continues to rise.
Fulani people are seen as suspicious due to their migratory lifestyle, international movements, and lack of literacy, which has been shown to increase radicalization. Despite this, the military can not just execute people when they want to.
The Second incident occurred recently, with no specified date. It took place in a prison in Chad, where the military was holding as many as 54 Boko Haram suspects. These suspects had been taken into custody during the recent operation named Bomo’s Anger, when the Chadian army reportedly killed 1,000 Boko Haram militants. While in detention, at least 44 of the suspects are reported to have died of poisoning. Though the source of the poison is still unclear, the Chadian military is responsible for the care and lives of those whom they hold in detention.
Both of these cases took place in countries where the militaries are fighting long running and intense battles with insurgent groups. This may have led some of the troops to hate or lash out at those that they saw as their enemies. Those involved in these killings must be held accountable for their actions though. The militaries in tese countries cannot begin killing civilians without proof of wrongdoing. If they continue these kinds of actions, they will likely be fighting a harder and longer insurgency in the end.
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].