Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian army of carrying out multiple war crimes, including mass killing and extrajudicial executions.
The NGO's investigations, which are corroborated through gruesome video footage, photos and testimonies, implicate the Nigerian army for carrying out serious human rights violations in north-eastern Nigeria, under the guise of fighting Boko Haram.
The human rights group's report noted that more than 4,000 people have been killed this year in conflicts between Nigerian military and Boko Haram. The investigation also revealed that at least 600 people were extrajudicially executed by the Nigerian army, following the Giwa Barracks attack on 14 March in Maiduguri.
The Amnesty report stated that in one particularly disturbing incident, the Nigerian military and the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), which is a state-sponsored militia, killed at least 16 young men and boys by slitting their throats and dumping their bodies in an open mass grave.
"This shocking new evidence is further proof of the appalling crimes being committed with abandon by all sides in the conflict. Nigerians deserve better - what does it say when members of the military carry out such unspeakable acts and capture the images on film?" said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary General.
In another incident, the Nigerian forces tackled peaceful protests with heavy handedness in the Kaduna state in July.
The army is also blamed to have executed 12 Shia men in Kaduna during interrogation. And later, when a group of peaceful demonstrators protested against the killings, the Nigerian forces opened fire on the group, killing 21 including two children.
The report highlights that the Nigerian military targeted civilians, in its zeal to fight Boko Haram militants.
"Members of Boko Haram and other armed groups are responsible for a huge number of heinous crimes – like the abduction of the schoolgirls in Chibok more than three months ago – but the military are supposed to defend people, not to carry out further abuses themselves," Shetty added.