The US State Department is “deeply troubled” by a Reuters report that the Nigerian army killed children in its fight against insurgents and has raised the allegations with the Nigerian government, a spokesperson said on Monday.
Nigerian military leaders told Reuters the army has never targeted children for killing.
They said the reporting in the article is an insult to Nigerians and part of a foreign effort to undermine the country’s fight against the insurgents.
“We are pursuing further information, including from the Government of Nigeria and stakeholders working in this space,” a State Department spokesperson said by email.
“We are still reviewing the report and will make decisions about next steps thereafter. Our Embassy in Abuja is seeking additional information, including by speaking to Nigerian authorities.”
The Reuters report said intentional killings of children have occurred across northeast Nigeria, where the military has been battling Islamist extremists for 13 years.
Amnesty International on Monday called on Nigerian authorities to immediately investigate the report’s findings.
“The killing of children on the presumption that they were, or would become, terrorists is a war crime which violates international laws,” it said in a statement.