The United Nations' human rights chief is pressing Nigeria's new president to set up independent inquiries into alleged abuses by the country's armed forces in the fight against Boko Haram.

Zeid Raad al-Hussein said Friday that people who have fled towns held the extremist group have described "absolute terror and grave human rights violations" by the insurgents, but also reported rights violations by Nigerian armed forces. He urged new President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that counterinsurgency operations don't result in "furthering the human rights devastation" in the northeast.

Zeid said he's encouraged by Buhari's promise to protect human rights. He urged Buhari to set up inquiries into abuses, particularly "deeply disturbing allegations that thousands of people have died or been killed while held in detention by state institutions."