“Shoot him in the chest, not the head,” said the Nigerian security official as two men on crutches were forced to lie in the street in the northern city of Maiduguri last year. “I want his hat.”
Another security official raised his gun and shot the two in the back at point-blank range. The killings were captured on video and recently aired on Al Jazeera television, then posted on YouTube, causing a national scandal.
The video shows security officers leading six people to be executed in a main street, four with their hands tied behind their backs and two on crutches. Two bodies lie nearby. It shows security officials shooting three of the victims.
The killings took place during a joint military-police operation in Maiduguri after a July uprising by an Islamic group known as the Nigerian Taliban. The rebellion left an estimated 700 dead.
Prosecutions and disciplinary action against police are rare. But after national outrage over the video, 17 police officers were arrested in February and face trial.