NAIROBI/WASHINGTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – US Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has called for a review of US security aid and cooperation in Nigeria following a Reuters report on the illegal abortion and infanticide program. carried out by the Nigerian military.
Risch, in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken seen by Reuters, also asked the State Department to review the use of sanctions in addition to an urgent review of US security assistance and cooperation.
“I look forward to hearing more about the department’s intentions regarding the serious and heinous charges brought against a long-time recipient of US security assistance, which, if found to be credible, has caused serious damage to a generation of Nigerian citizens and to the US. ‘the area,’ Risch said in the letter on Friday.
Nigeria’s information minister was not immediately available for comment.
A Reuters investigation this month found that since 2013, the Nigerian military has carried out a secret, systematic and illegal abortion program in the northeast of the country, killing nearly 10,000 women and girls.
Many were abducted and raped by Islamic terrorists. Protesters were beaten, held at gunpoint or drugged, witnesses say.
Nigerian military leaders have denied the program existed and said the Reuters report was part of a foreign operation to disrupt the country’s war on insurgents.
Last week, Reuters reported that the Nigerian Army and its allies have been killing children during the 13-year war against Islamist militants in the country’s northeast.
Nigerian military commanders told Reuters that the military had never targeted the killing of children. They said that what is written in the article is an insult to the people of Nigeria and it is the intention of other countries to disrupt the war that the country is doing against terrorists.
Nigeria’s army chief on Friday asked the National Human Rights Commission to launch an independent investigation into the illegal abortion program reported by Reuters, according to reports.
The Human Rights Commission had previously said it would launch an investigation, according to reports.
A spokesman for the US State Department, when asked about Risch’s letter, said the United States was still reviewing the Reuters reports and would see what action would be taken.
“Decisions to continue providing military training and equipment are made in accordance with policy and consider various factors, including respect for human rights and compliance with the law of war,” the spokesman said.
“Our existing security products in Nigeria include strong components that focus on human rights, preventing harm to civilians, and promoting military justice and accountability.”
The department oversees all Nigerian security forces selected for training and support and will not provide security assistance to the armed forces if there is credible evidence that it has violated human rights, the spokesman added.
Earlier this year, the United States approved nearly $1 billion in arms sales to Nigeria, after Nigeria sent last year Embraer-made A-29 Super Tucanos, a low-flying aircraft capable of providing close support to passengers like a helicopter. .
The agreement, which was ratified in April, was suspended due to concerns over human rights abuses by the Nigerian government.
The United States has also committed nearly $6 million between 2016 and 2020 to the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program.
Reporting by David Lewis in Nairobi and Daphne Psaledakis and Idrees Ali in Washington; Edited by Lisa Shumaker
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