Crime

How Nigerian soldiers rape women and girls

Nigerian soldiers have raped women and girls who fled the insurgency by militant Islamist group Boko Haram, Amnesty International has said.

Troops separated women from their husbands and raped them, sometimes in exchange for food, in refugee camps, the rights group added.

Thousands of people have also starved to death in the camps in north-eastern Nigeria since 2015, Amnesty said.

Nigeria’s military has dismissed the allegations as malicious and false.

“These false reports, which are capable of derailing the good work being done by our patriotic and selfless soldiers, must stop,” the military said in a statement.

Troops have been battling the insurgents since 2009.

More than 30,000 people have been killed in the conflict, and about 1.8 million people have fled their homes.

In its report, They betrayed us, Amnesty said: “It is absolutely shocking that people who had already suffered so much under Boko Haram have been condemned to further horrendous abuse by the Nigerian military.

“Instead of receiving protection from the authorities, women and girls have been forced to succumb to rape in order to avoid starvation or hunger.”

Amnesty added that as the military recaptured territory from Boko Haram in 2015, it ordered people living in villages to move to satellite camps, in some cases “indiscriminately killing those who remained in their homes”.

“At least hundreds, and possibly thousands, died in Bama Hospital camp alone during this time. Those interviewed consistently reported that 15 to 30 people died each day from hunger and sickness during these months,” the rights group said.

It added that at least 32 babies and children, and five women, have died in detention since 2016 at the notorious Giwa barracks.

Many of those detained were victims of abductions or forced marriages by Boko Haram, Amnesty said.

“The detention of women and girls on the basis that they were allegedly married to Boko Haram members is unlawful under international human rights law and Nigerian law, and is discriminatory,” it added.

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