Soldiers sexually abuse Boko Haram victims, says HRW
Nigerian soldiers and policemen have raped and sexually abused women and girls fleeing the militant group Boko Haram, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.
Forty-three cases of “sexual abuse, including rape and exploitation”, were documented in July, HRW said. The women and girls were housed at seven camps in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, where Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency began. That insurgency has displaced more than two million people and killed 15,000 in Nigeria’s northeast.
An army spokesman declined to comment and referred the matter to the Defence ministry. A spokesman for the department could not be reached by phone and did not respond to a text message. A spokesman for the Nigerian police could not be reached on his mobile phone.
The rights group said it was also told of abuse carried out by camp leaders and members of security groups set up to help the military fight the insurgents. Four people told HRW they were drugged and raped. Thirty-seven said they had been coerced into sex.