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Thursday, 14 December, 2000, 11:44 GMT
General attacks Obasanjo 'vendetta'
President Obasanjo
President Obasanjo was detained for three years
Nigeria's former army chief under dictator General Sani Abacha has accused the government of pursuing an ethnic vendetta in its investigations of human rights abuses in the country.

Petitioning the human rights commission in Lagos, Lieutenant-General Ishaya Bamaiyi, said there was one law for ethnic-Yorubas and another for ethnic-Hausas.

And he said President Olusegun Obasanjo, himself a Yoruba, was avenging wrongs committed against Yorubas during the rule of the former military leader, General Abacha.

He cited the case of the Yoruba militia leader, Frederick Fasehun, who was last month acquitted of murder after police failed to substantiate the charges.

Mr Fasehun was alleged to be involved in ethnic clashes in which more than 100 people died.

Easy target

General Bamaiyi and some other former army officers face criminal charges over acts of state terrorism.

General Abacha
Blamed for human rights abuses
Some northern Hausa politicians say President Obasanjo is targeting aides of General Abacha in his anti-corruption drive and human rights crusade to avenge his own arrest and imprisonment in 1985 for alleged coup plotting.

But President Obasanjo told the commission when he appeared before them in early November that he had forgiven all those responsible for his three years in detention.

Correspondents say that circumstances make the government an easy target to accusations of ethnic bias because nearly all the security personnel around General Abacha were northerners, whilst most of the victims of alleged state terrorism were Yoruba people from the south-west.

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See also:

28 Nov 00 | Africa
Abiola witness death threats
21 Nov 00 | Africa
Businessman 'beaten 300 times'
03 Sep 99 | Africa
Nigeria: A history of coups
20 Oct 00 | Business
London implicated in Abacha probe
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