Displaced woman washing her hands in Rann, Borno State, Nigeria. Credit: OCHA/ Yasmina Guerda


Maiduguri, Thursday May 26, 2022 – Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of at least 50 civilians by a non-state armed group in Rann, Northeast Nigeria, on Sunday May 22.  

“Civilians are being targeted over and over again in Northeast Nigeria. They continue to be slaughtered with impunity while farming and seeking livelihoods,” said Benson Olugbuo, CIVIC’s Country Director in Nigeria. “We utterly condemn this attack and urge all parties to the conflict, state and non-state armed actors alike, to refrain from targeting and harming civilians. The perpetrators of civilian killings should be held accountable.” 

Initial news reports indicate that as many as 50 civilians were killed. Many victims had their hands tied behind their backs before being executed, according to eyewitnesses cited by local media. The civilians were allegedly targeted for their recent engagements with local government. CIVIC reminds all armed actors that civilians do not lose their protected status because they engage with government forces and should never be targeted for doing so.  

“This attack is only one among many attacks that continue to threaten the lives and livelihoods of civilians in Northeast Nigeria. Nearly 13 years after the start of the armed insurgency, women, men, and children are still living in fear, fleeing from one location to another and wondering when and where the next attack will be,” said Olugbuo. 

As the Nigerian military began investigating the attacks, CIVIC urges the Government of Nigeria to scale up security patrols in Borno State to reassure civilians and allow them to farm and carry out other livelihood related activities. The Nigerian military should also consult civilian communities affected by this attack and other incidents about measures that could be taken to strengthen their self-protection strategies in order to minimize harm when attacks occur. 

Since 2009, Nigeria’s northeast and Borno state in particular have been the center of an armed insurgency. Millions have been displaced and some 350,000 people have died from attacks and the subsequent humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations. 


CIVIC in Nigeria:  

Since 2018, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) has engaged with communities, the military, and community militias in the northeast to improve the protection of civilians. Recognizing that civilians are the best agents of their own protection, CIVIC supports civilians to advocate for their protection, including with state and non-state security forces. In parallel, CIVIC provides training and advice to Nigerian security forces to further their efforts to better protect civilians. More here. 


For more information, please contact: 

In Abuja: Sarem Ugoh, sugoh@civiliansinconflict.org, +  

In The Hague: Hajer Naili, Director of Communications: hnaili@civiliansinconflict.org , +33.6.03. 50.53.93/ +1.917.889.5982 (WhatsApp)



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