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Amnesty International Damning Indictment of Royal Dutch Shell

SHELL SOLICITED THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE ARMED FORCES AND ENCOURAGED HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN OGONILAND WITH PAYMENTS AND ASSISTANCE TO THE SECURITY FORCES (See Page 3 of the document cited immediately below)

Extracts from pages 29, 30, 31 & 32 of an Amnesty International document entitled: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

RAPE OF OGONI WOMEN AND GIRLS

During the military raids on Ogoni villages in 1994 and in the detention centres of Bori Military Camp and Kpor, soldiers raped women and girls. Human Rights Watch recorded several accounts in its 1996 report.120 One woman told researchers that she watched as two soldiers raped her 13-year-old sister at gunpoint during a midnight raid on Bori around June 1994. A woman in her late thirties gave a harrowing account of her rape by five soldiers on the morning of 28 May 1994. A teenager said she had been raped by four soldiers whom she and her younger sister encountered one morning in June 1994, as they were returning from a well near their house:

“The soldiers pursued us and pushed me down. They kicked me and hit my junior sister’s mouth with a wooden stick. They…tore my dress. One soldier held each of my legs. Then each of the four soldiers took turns. I was lying in a pool of blood when they left, unconscious. My small sister was there crying…Since then, I have not had my period. I have severe pains in my lower abdomen. At times I can’t move.”121

In 2006, Amnesty International recorded interviews with several of the survivors. One woman described how soldiers had gang-raped her in 1994, and also provided Amnesty International with photographs of injuries sustained by her child as a result of torture. She was in her thirties at the time of the rape. She said:

“I was raped by three army men. They carried guns and they had uniforms. They kicked in the door and one man shouted to me ‘if you move, I’ll move you’, as he hit
me in the face. He threw me on the bed and raped me using his gun. Other persons came and also raped me. Another woman had miscarriage because of being raped too. My son was trying to run away from the soldiers but he was beaten up by them. There were no witnesses to the rape. No doctor was available, I treated myself with boiling water and salt and opened my private parts to burn germs in the uterus, I also got herbal drugs [to treat the injuries]. I didn’t report [the rape] to the police, there is no police in Ogoniland,”122

Another woman recounted how she was raped and her husband killed by soldiers in 1994:

“I was lying naked in bed when they came into my house with force, and knocked on the door. They beat me so that I lost some teeth. They carried my husband outside and shot him dead. I had delivered a stillborn child by surgery recently and [the] wound never healed nicely. [There was a large scar across her stomach.] The soldier hit me on wound, and raped me. There were two men. I still have pain in the operation wound. The men in uniform were looking for my husband and other women’s husbands; the wives were sometimes tortured and raped. I was afraid to report it, so I fled to the bush. I didn’t report to [the] chief because he had been detained.”123

Girls under 18 years were among those raped by the security forces in Ogoniland. Fatima, 10 years old at the time, described how she had been repeatedly raped and held in sexual slavery for five days in April 1994:

“The army came in at night and asked for my brother and father. I didn’t know where they were. They took me to their station. I stayed there five days. Four men raped and beat me. They all used me. When they saw I was almost dead they dropped me along the road. I couldn’t find anybody. I ran to the clinic inside the bush. My tummy was rising. I saw an old man and he took me to the place. The man operated me in the bush. He was then shot by the army. I remembered wounds all over my body. Now I am called “Army property” by the youth in the community where I live. My father has disowned me. I did not report to anybody. It is a shameful thing.”124

Peace, who was only 11 years old at the time, suffered a similar experience:

“I was in the house at night. Army people push[ed] [into] the house and carr[ied] us to their camp. They beat and raped me. They kept me there for one week, they maltreated me, forced us to cook for them after the raping. I wanted to escape, I managed. When I escaped the army people shot me. Since then I suffer from the raping. I don’t know the cause for the rape and the beating. Since then I have pain in my leg. During that time, [there was] no open clinic. I couldn’t run with the bullet, so I enter the bush. They did not check for rape because I did not have money. My uncle brought me to the hospital. The doctor said I was pregnant, I told him about the rape. He operated me. He put a little thing in my private parts. I have not had a period since then. I am still suffering. I did not have any medical report [to prove that I was raped]. When something like this happens, you are segregated [from the rest of the community].125

Relatives of the prisoners were also the target of gen- der-based violence and abuse when they went to visit them. Esther Kiobel says that when she tried to visit her detained husband Barinem Kiobel at the Bori Military Camp in Port Harcourt, in December 1994, Paul Okuntimo, took her to another room and tried to force himself on her. “When I pushed him away, I guess he got upset, and slapped me. He has a big hand, and that was like fire coming out. I slapped him back.” Okuntimo was furious. “He started a fight with me, left me half-naked, and called the army,” she says. “They dragged me, so there were all these cuts… and they tied me like an animal.”126

One of the soldiers who spoke to Human Rights Watch in 1996 said he personally witnessed seven rapes by soldiers who took Ogoni village women into the bush when they got off guard duty.127 Another soldier, Boniface Ejiogu, who was Major Okuntimo’s orderly from May 1994 until Okuntimo was replaced in July 1995, and who gave a deposition in the US litigation against Shell, said he twice stood guard as Major Okuntimo raped female detainees.128

GOVERNMENT DENIALS

The former military administrator, Dauda Komo and the ISTF commander, Paul Okuntimo have both denied that they either ordered or were involved in human rights violations. In a 2001 newspaper interview, Daudu Komo argued that the military was deployed to Ogoniland to keep the peace, following months of intercommunal violence, and in response to a request from Ken Saro-Wiwa. He said:

“There was complete breakdown of law and order there. If Ogoniland is a part of Nigeria, why should there be law and order everywhere else except in Ogoniland. That is why the troops were deployed.”129

Dauda Komo denied that the ISTF troops had raped women. He said that the soldiers had been deployed in several different areas, as well as previously on foreign UN peacekeeping missions, but only Ogoni women had complained of rape:

“I am not saying that Ogoni women are not pretty but surely they cannot be prettier than all those other women, including the Lebanese and Somalian women that an army that can hold its discipline would suddenly lose that discipline in the sight of Ogoni women. I think we should draw deductions here.”130

Paul Okuntimo also denied that he and his men had carried out human rights violations, and insisted that they had actually saved lives in Ogoniland. He blamed MOSOP for the violence, and stated that “The Ogonis should be thankful to me and the troops because if not for us, Ogoni land would have been levelled.”131

Despite these denials, the military authorities tried to prevent impartial investigations of the situation in Ogoniland. In December 1994, Paul Okuntimo refused permission for three Amnesty International delegates to enter Ogoniland.132 He said that they could only travel with a military escort, and accused MOSOP of killing hundreds of people, without providing any evidence.

In April, 1996, when a UN fact finding team visited Port Harcourt and Ogoniland, the authorities tried to prevent them from gathering information. MOSOP reported that forty three people were detained before and during the UN visit, clearly aimed at preventing Ogonis from speaking to the UN team.133

The government also tried to prevent foreign journalists from reporting on events in Ogoniland. The SSS detained Wall Street Journal reporter Geraldine Brooks on 9 April 1994, after she had approached an army officer to ask for the military’s account of some violent incidents. The government then deported her for “security reasons”.134 In January 1996, the ISTF arrested Paul Adams of the Financial Times (London) at road block in Ogoniland.135

Footnotes

120. Human Rights Watch, Nigeria: A Case Study of Military Repression in Southeastern Nigeria, p22-3.
121. Human Rights Watch, Nigeria: A Case Study of Military Repression in Southeastern Nigeria, p23.
122. Amnesty International, Nigeria: Rape – The Silent Weapon (AFR 44/020/2006), p12.
123. Amnesty International, Nigeria: Rape – The Silent Weapon (AFR 44/020/2006), p13.
124. Amnesty International, Nigeria: Rape – The Silent Weapon (AFR 44/020/2006), p13.
125. Amnesty International, Nigeria: Rape – The Silent Weapon (AFR 44/020/2006), p13.
126. Amnesty International Interview with Esther Kiobel, Amsterdam, 6 December 2016.
127. Human Rights Watch, Nigeria: A Case Study of Military Repression in Southeastern Nigeria, p23.
128. Deposition of Boniface Ejiogu, Part II, 23 May, 2004, p. 114.
129. The News (Lagos), Nigeria: Why Saro-Wiwa Was Killed, 21 May 2001, available at http://allafrica.com/stories/200105230193.html.
130. The News (Lagos), Nigeria: Why Saro-Wiwa Was Killed, 21 May 2001, available at http://allafrica.com/stories/200105230193.html.
131. Ise-Oluwa Ige and Sam Onwuemeodo, Nigeria: Okuntimo Appears Before Panel, Expresses No Regret, Vanguard, 24 january 2001,available at http://
allafrica.com/stories/200101260487.html
132. Meeting with Paul Okuntimo in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, 10 November 1994.
133. Human Rights Watch, Nigeria: Permanent Transition, September 1996, available at https://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/Nigeria.htm.
134. J. Timothy Hunt, The Politics of Bones: Dr Owens Wiwa and the Struggle for Nigeria’s Oil, p. 171.
135. Human Rights Watch, Nigeria: Permanent Transition, September 1996, available at https://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/Nigeria.htm.

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