HRW: Nigeria Officials 'Sexually Abusing Boko Haram Victims'
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Human Rights Watch Monday accused Nigerian officials of sexually exploiting women and girls living in camps for victims of Boko Haram in the restive northeast.
HRW said it had in July documented 43 cases of women and girls in seven internally displaced persons' (IDP) camps in Maiduguri, who had been abused by camp leaders, vigilante groups, policemen, and soldiers, AFP reported.
"It is bad enough that these women and girls are not getting much-needed support for the horrific trauma they suffered at the hands of Boko Haram," said Mausi Segun, senior Nigeria researcher at HRW.
"It is disgraceful and outrageous that people who should protect these women and girls are attacking and abusing them," he added.
Government officials were not immediately available for comment on the allegations.
Four of the victims told HRW they were drugged and raped, while 37 were coerced into sex through false marriage promises and material and financial assistance.
"Many of those coerced into sex said they were abandoned if they became pregnant. They and their children have suffered discrimination, abuse, and stigmatization from other camp residents," the global rights body said.
HRW spoke to one 17-year-old girl who was raped and made pregnant by a policeman.
"One day he demanded to have sex with me," she said. "I refused but he forced me. It happened just that one time, but soon I realized I was pregnant.
"When I informed him about my condition, he threatened to shoot and kill me if I told anyone else. So I was too afraid to report him."
HRW said irregular supplies of food, clothing, medicine, and other essentials in camps were making the women vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
"In some cases, men used their positions of authority and gifts of desperately needed food or other items to have sex with women," it said.
Boko Haram started its campaign of militancy in 2009 with the aim of toppling the central government in Nigeria.
The violence sparked by the group’s militancy has so far killed more than 20,000 people and forced over 2.7 million others from their homes.
Many blame corrupt officials in Nigeria’s government and army for the continued militancy, as recent reports say Boko Haram is receiving some of its arms and ammunition from corrupt Nigerian officials.
The militant group has expanded its terror activities to Nigeria’s neighboring countries. Troops from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger have been battling the terrorists in recent months.
The group has pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri terrorists operating mainly in Syria and Iraq.