In interviews, girls and women rescued from the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram last week say that the jihadists are desperately trying to sell the girls they have left to fund purchases of new weapons, which they severely lack. Some even lamented having been duped into fighting with the group for religious reasons, the girls say.
Reuters published a report today highlighting a number of conversations with the girls and women, which are estimated to be about 700 in number following a second mass rescue last week. The terrorists, increasingly desperate, began to complain to some of the women of their ordeal, particularly citing a lack of sufficient weapons to stave off the Nigerian military and a coalition of fighters that also include soldiers from Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. The men, they said, “began complaining to their captives about lack of guns and ammunition last month, and many were reduced to carrying sticks, while some of their vehicles had either broken down or lacked gasoline.”
One woman noted that the asking price for the girls being sold was lowered to $10 in the hopes that they could profit off the women before the military freed them. In addition to needing weapons, they had no fuel for transport or warmth. Reuters cited one woman who claimed that the jihadists told captives that “their leader had deceived them into fighting and killing in the name of religion.”
The report follows testimony from rescued captives that, upon realizing the women would be freed, Boko Haram terrorists began stoning as many girls as they could to death so that they could not return to a free life.
Nigeria first announced the rescue of nearly 300 girls on April 28, leading many to believe that the freed women were the captives of Chibok, Borno state, whose kidnapping gave Boko Haram international headlines. The military immediately denied that the girls rescued were from Chibok, however, triggering outrage from the parents of the girls, given that they had yet to be processed and interviewed to reveal where they were from.
The fight against Boko Haram appears to have taken a turn last week as the Nigerian military entered the Sambisa forest, believed to be the last major stronghold of the terror group. The army released video this week of their operations, showing terrorists fleeing through the forest upon hearing approaching helicopters.
The Daily Beast reports that the White House has been increasingly hesitant to provide ammunition to the Nigerian military to fight Boko Haram, citing alleged human rights abuses by the Nigerian military in their fight against Boko Haram terrorists. The publication does note that “President Barack Obama is supporting Nigeria’s neighboring countries with $35 million worth of military and defense support services to Chad, Niger and Mali channeled through France,” largely to prevent Boko Haram from spreading into neighboring countries.
Boko Haram claimed last week to have changed their name to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), having been officially accepted as a subsidiary of the Islamic State terrorist group.