Report: Boko Haram Forces Captured Women to Front Lines

Report: Boko Haram Forces Captured Women to Front Lines

Human Rights Watch (HRW) interviewed thirty females abducted by Boko Haram in Nigerian between April 2013 and April 2014. Twelve of the victims were students at Chibok School in April. The females divulged all the details of the abuse they endured at the hands of one of the most vicious terrorist groups in the world.

Women told the organization they cooked and cleaned for the men in the camps. One woman cleaned “the bloodied clothes of insurgents killed in the July 2009 violence.” However, the jihadists forced some women to fight against the Nigerian military in place of the men. From HRW:

At first, my job in the camp was to cook for the 14-man group until a month later when I was taken along for an operation. I was told to hold the bullets and lie in the grass while they fought. They came to me for extra bullets as the fight continued during the day. When security forces arrived at the scene and began to shoot at us, I fell down in fright. The insurgents dragged me along on the ground as they fled back to camp.

On the way back from another operation, I was told to approach a group of five men we saw in a nearby village and lure them to where the insurgents were hiding. Afraid because of the killings I had witnessed during the operation, I told the young men, mostly teenage members of the Civilian JTF, that I needed their help. When they followed me for a short distance, the insurgents swooped on them. Once we got back to the camp, they tied the legs and hands of the captives and slit the throats of four of them as they shouted ‘Allahu Akbar.’ Then I was handed a knife to kill the last man. I was shaking with horror and couldn’t do it. The camp leader’s wife took the knife and killed him.

Five females told HRW about the sexual abuse they suffered while in captivity. Four of the women were assaulted after they were assigned into a “marriage” with a militant. A wife of a militant pushed her husband to assault one of the victims:

I was lying down in the cave pretending to be ill because I did not want the marriage the commander planned to conduct for me with another insurgent on his return from the Sambisa camp. When the insurgent who had paid my dowry came in to force himself on me, the commander’s wife blocked the cave entrance and watched as the man raped me.

HRW is not the first organization to criticize Nigeria for not doing enough to protect women in the country. In May, a month after the terrorists abducted 276 girls, Amnesty International released a report that said Nigeria was informed at least four hours before Boko Haram raided the boarding school. The government claimed not much could be done because of poor resources. One official said he called several security officers about information he received on Boko Haram’s impending attack. The officers promised reinforcements were on the way.


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