ABUJA, March 14 (Reuters) - Nigerian security forces have committed human rights abuses as they fight a near five year Islamist insurgency by the Boko Haram sect, a U.N. official said on Friday.
Boko Haram has killed thousands in its effort to carve out an Islamic state in a religiously mixed country of around 170 million people. Rights groups say the military carries out extra-judicial killings, torture and illegally detains suspects.
"Many people I have met with during this visit openly acknowledge human rights violations have been committed by the security forces," the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, told reporters in Abuja.
"These have served to alienate communities, and create fertile ground for Boko Haram to cultivate new recruits," she added.
(Reporting by Joe Brock; Editing by Alison Williams)