So, the Nigerian government on Monday started mass trial of hundreds of suspected cut-throat militants, Boko Haram.

But it appears, the suspects may well be tried in secret after the Justice Ministry claimed it was an open trial in a detention centre located in Kainji, Niger State.

You may recall that rights groups had criticized the government in the first mass trial last year which involved no fewer than 1,000 suspects.

But the Justice Ministry said that in this instance, the suspects appeared in open court “with some civil society groups, including human rights organisations and journalists invited to witness the proceedings”.

The problem, however, is that the Justice Ministry only made the claims in a statement, as there were no immediate reports from journalists who were said to have witnessed the trial.

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In October, the ministry said 45 suspects had been convicted and jailed. A further 468 suspects were discharged, and 28 suspects were remanded for trial in Abuja or Minna.

The other trials were adjourned.

More than 20,000 people have been killed and two million forced to flee their homes in northeastern Nigeria since Boko Haram began an insurgency in 2009 aimed at creating an Islamic state.

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