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Rights abuses by security forces rife in Africa: Amnesty

Human rights violations, including extra-judicial executions and torture, by security forces still plague several African countries, Amnesty International said Friday.

A report by the London-based rights group said excessive use of force and other ill-treatment at times resulting in unlawful killings, were among violations documented in countries such as Nigeria, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda.

It said the situation in Nigeria’s Niger Delta deteriorated in 2010, with armed groups and gangs kidnapping oil workers and their relatives and attacking oil plants.

“The reaction from the Nigerian security forces often led to human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions and torture,” the report noted.

Numerous cases of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture by security agencies also remained the norm in other parts of Nigeria.

In South Africa, numerous cases of torture and ill-treatment by police were reported, many of which were investigated by the Independent Complaints Directorate. Reported incidents included beatings, electric shocks, suffocation and death threats.

Last month, footage of a 33-year-old unarmed protester being kicked and beaten with batons by police officers was shown on South African television.

The man died a few minutes later after being shot twice with rubber bullets at close range.

In Mozambique, police used live ammunition against demonstrators protesting against the high cost of living, killing at least 14 people while in Guinea, security forces fired live ammunition at peaceful demonstrators, the report said.

Despite a general trend towards the abolition of capital punishment across the continent, death row inmates in Equatorial Guinea, Sudan and Somalia were executed, often after unfair trials, it added.

The report also raised concern over the violence and increased human rights violations, including unlawful arrests and restrictions on freedom of expression, that marred elections in countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi, Guinea and Ivory Coast.

“In nearly all cases, the human rights violations were committed with total impunity,” it said.