World News
Boko Haram Forcing Girls To Take Part In Operations – Report

A rights group, Human Right Watch (HRW), has revealed that women and girls abducted by Boko Haram have been deployed to the battlefront, besides being abused sexually.

The rights group, in a statement on its website, said kidnapped girls and women who refused to convert to Islam at the hands of Boko Haram had been subjected to “forced participation in military operations, including carrying ammunition or luring men into ambush, forced marriage to their captors and sexual abuse, including rape.”

The group also faulted the Nigerian government for its failure to adequately protect women and girls from a myriad of abuses, provide them with effective support and mental health and medical care after captivity, ensure access to safe schools, or investigate and prosecute those responsible for the abuses.

Human Right Watch director for Africa, Daniel Bekele, said that Nigerian government and its allies need to step up their efforts to put an end to these brutal abductions and provide for the medical, psychological and social needs of the women and girls who have managed to escape from their captives.

“The survivors of Boko Haram’s violence should not be shamed and frightened into silence; it is Boko Haram that should be ashamed of the abuses they commit against women and girls in their extreme interpretation of religious text,” Bekele said.

The plight of scores of girls taken away by the Boko Haram group in Chibok, Borno state gained global attention six months ago, spawning the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

“Much has been written about Boko Haram and the horrific threat it poses, very little is known about the abuses endured by women and girls in captivity,” HRW said.

In addition to being forced go to the front lines and into sexual slavery, women and girls interviewed by HRW said they were also made to cook, clean, and perform other household chores.

“Others served as porters, carrying the loot stolen by the insurgents from villages and towns they had attacked,” according to the report.

HRW said the majority of women and girls appeared to have been targeted for abduction because they were students, Christians, or both.

“Some of the victims were threatened with death if they refused to convert to Islam. One young woman held in a camp near Gwoza described how combatants placed a noose around her neck and threatened her with death until she renounced her religion,” the group noted.