Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Nigerian peacekeepers ... human rights violators?

Rights Activists Worried By African Peacekeepers

In Sierra Leone, Human Rights Watch documented 180 cases of summary executions in 1999 by West African forces or by Sierra Leonean militias under their command. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and the State Department also cited reports of illegal killings by the Nigerian-led force, including a case in which West African troops killed an 8-year-old boy who was caught with a pistol and given no trial. One West African military officer, dubbed "Captain Evil Spirit" by local residents, oversaw the execution of at least 98 people on a bridge, according to a 1999 Human Rights Watch report.

.... Despite questions raised about some West African peacekeeping units, U.N. officials said the first battalion of ECOWAS troops -- which has completed its tour of duty under U.N. command in Sierra Leone and is being deployed today in Monrovia -- performed with honor in Sierra Leone.