Security Officials Allegedly Sexually Exploiting Women And Girls Displaced By Boko Haram In The North East

Women and girls displaced by Boko Haram are allegedly facing sexual abuse and exploitation by the Nigerian security officials.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) revealed this on Monday, accusing the officials of sexually exploiting women and girls living in camps who are victims of Boko Haram in the North East.

According to reports from Punch, HRW said it had in July documented 43 cases of women and girls in 7 internally displaced persons, IDP camps in Maiduguri, the epicentre of the 7-year insurgency, who had been abused by camp leaders, vigilante groups, policemen, and soldiers.

Mausi Segun, senior Nigeria researcher at HRW said:

”It is bad enough that these women and girls are not getting much-needed support for the horrific trauma they suffered at the hands of Boko Haram.

It is disgraceful and outrageous that people who should protect these women and girls are attacking and abusing them.”

In addition, 4 of the victims told HRW they were drugged and raped, while 37 were coerced into sex through false marriage promises and material and financial assistance.

”Many of those coerced into sex said they were abandoned if they became pregnant. They and their children have suffered discrimination, abuse, and stigmatisation from other camp residents,” the global rights body said.

One of the 17-year-old girl who was raped and made pregnant by a policeman revealed:

”One day he demanded to have sex with me,” she said. I refused but he forced me. It happened just that one time, but soon I realised I was pregnant.

When I informed him about my condition, he threatened to shoot and kill me if I told anyone else. So I was too afraid to report him.”

HRW added irregular supplies of food, clothing, medicine, and other essentials in camps were making the women vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

”In some cases, men used their positions of authority and gifts of desperately needed food or other items to have sex with women,” it said.

Boko Haram has devastated north east Nigeria in its quest to create an Islamist state, killing over 20,000 people and displacing 2.6 million from their homes.

According to UNICEF, nearly 50,000 children are now facing death by starvation if they don’t get food and almost 250,000 more are severely malnourished in Borno state.

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