Human Rights Monitor group, Amnesty International on Wednesday said at least 11 children, including a five-month old baby were among the 149 people that have died under horrendous conditions in the Nigerian military detention facility inside Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State.
In a statement released on Wednesday by the Amnesty International, they claimed that many of the detainees died from disease, hunger, dehydration, and gunshot wounds.
The organisation stated that 120 children are among the 1,200 detainees accused of having links with Boko Haram, presently held in the facility.
According to Amnesty International 7,000 detainees had died in military detention in Nigeria since 2011 as a result of starvation, thirst, disease, torture and a lack of medical attention.
The statement reads:
“The discovery that babies and young children have died in appalling conditions in military detention is both harrowing and horrifying. We have repeatedly sounded the alarm over the high death rate of detainees in Giwa barracks but these findings show that, for both adults and children, it remains a place of death,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa.”
“At least 12 children have died in Giwa barracks since February. Children under five years old, including babies, have been held in three overcrowded women’s cells. In the last year there has been a ten-fold increase in the number of detainees in these cells rising from 25 in 2015 to 250 in early 2016. Unsanitary conditions mean that disease is rife”.
It also claimed that an unnamed witness told them that they saw the bodies of eight dead children including a five-month-old, two one-year-olds, a two-year-old, a three-year-old, a four-year-old and two five-year-olds among the dead.
“Three died while we were there. When the children died the reaction was too much sadness,” a former detainee who was in the facility for over two months told Amnesty International.
One witnesses revealed that soldiers ignored pleas for medical attention: “Measles started when hot season started. In the morning, two or three [were ill], by the evening five babies [were ill]. You will see the fever, the [baby’s] body is very hot and they will cry day and night. The eyes were red and the skin will have some rashes. Later some medical personnel came and confirmed that this is measles,”
“Every two days the medical personnel will come to the yard and say ‘bring out the children who are sick’. The doctor will see them at the door and give them medicine through the door.”
Between 22 and 25 April a one-year-old boy, a five-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl died.