MOSCOW, October 11 (RIA Novosti) - The Nigerian Government slammed the United States for allegedly denying the country access to arms purchase, further accusing the human rights watchdog Amnesty International of looking for cheap publicity and fundraising following the group's publication on human rights abuse in Nigeria, the country's Leadership newspaper reported Saturday.
"What do they [the United States] want us to do to stop the incessant terror attacks [by Boko Haram] on our people when they are denying us access to arms and ammunition? Yet they claim they want us to stop the menace of terrorism, how?" an unnamed top security official was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
"Are we not aware of how they [the United States] are fighting terrorism all over the world? Is the Amnesty International not seeing them? I don't want to believe that they are sincere in their support for the war against terrorism in Nigeria," the official added.
Though Washington has consistently denied the claims that it refused to sell arms to Nigeria, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle said during a press conference at the American University of Nigeria on Thursday that the United States was concerned about human rights abuses by Nigerian soldiers in the anti-terrorism fight, according to the newspaper.
“So the kind of question that we have to ask is let’s say we give certain kinds of equipment to Nigerian military that is then used in a way that affects human situation. If I approve that, I’m responsible for that. We take that responsibility very seriously,” the ambassador explained.
Last month, Amnesty published a report "Welcome to Hell Fire: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Nigeria"
"Amnesty International found that torture and other ill-treatment are routine practice in criminal investigations across Nigeria. Suspects in police and military custody across the country are subjected to torture as punishment or to extract "confessions" as a shortcut to 'solve' cases, particularly armed robbery and murder," stated the Amnesty report.
Prior to the publication, the Nigerian government had condemned Amnesty's handling of an August 5 footage it made public, showing Nigerian troops slitting the throats of Boko Haram suspects and damping their bodies in mass graves.
The Boko Haram Islamist militant group founded in 2002 is seeking to establish a caliphate in Nigeria. The group made international headlines when they raided a school in northeastern Nigeria in April and kidnapped almost 300 school-girls in protests against western education