A special Nigerian police unit has used hangings, mock executions and other forms of torture to obtain confessions and bribes from criminal suspects and their families, Amnesty International said.
Victims interviewed by the London-based human rights group said members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad stole their cars, withdrew money from their bank accounts and confiscated their properties. Suspects are held in a number of locations, including a detention center in the capital, Abuja, known as the “abbatoir.”
“SARS officers are getting rich through their brutality,” Damian Ugwu, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher, said in a statement Wednesday. “In Nigeria, it seems torture is a lucrative business.”
While the police unit denied that it was responsible for torture, a senior police officer told Amnesty International that about 40 officers alleged to have carried out various acts of ill-treatment of detainees were transferred to other stations in April, the rights group said.
“There is an urgent need for robust legislation that ensures all acts of torture are offences under Nigeria’s criminal law,” Amnesty said.