The Nigerian military raped women they had rescued from the Boko Haram extremist group, says a report published on Thursday by non-governmental organisation Amnesty International. The reported crimes took place at displacement camps in Nigeria, meant for people rescued from Boko Haram.
The military and militia “used their authority and access to food and other basic necessities to coerce women into sex”, Al Jazeera quoted the report by Amnesty International as saying. “The soldiers sometimes used force if the women resisted.”
“I arrived with 130 other women and children in 2016,” a complainant told the organisation. She said starvation had killed 58 of them in the first four months.
“You will see a military man with food in the hand and he would say, ‘If you like me take this food’,” she added. “If you accept the food, later he would come back to you to have intercourse. If you refuse, he would rape you.”
Thousands of people were starved to death in these camps in 2015 and 2016, and while the situation has improved now, many women still have to go days without food and are restricted from leaving the camps, the report said.
Some women also said that the military burned down their villages, and they were ordered to leave. Their husbands and sons were detained.
The report said that soldiers treated the women and children with suspicion merely because they had once been under Boko Haram’s captivity, and sent them to military detention facilities such as the Giwa barracks, where the conditions were inhumane.
“They asked us women where our husbands were, then they flogged us with sticks,” a complainant said. “They beat my children and said they are Boko Haram children. I was pregnant at the time.”
Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo established an investigation committee last year to inquire into human rights abuses by the military, but no action has been taken so far, the report said. It also accused the United States and Britain of ignoring the Nigerian military’s crimes while condemning the actions of Boko Haram.