How Boko Haram defiled, Beat UsEvery Night – Abducted Girls

He soon began to threaten me with a knife
to have s*x with him and when I refused, he
brought out his gun, warning that he would
kill me if I shouted.“Then he began to r*pe
me every night … I had never had s*x before;
it was very painful and I cried bitterly
because I was bleeding afterwards.”
These were the words of a 15-year-old girl,
who was abducted by Boko Haram and
forcibly married to one of its commanders in
a camp in the Sambisa Forest, Borno State.
The girl, according to a report by Human
Rights Watch, was abducted in 2013 but she
escaped after four weeks in captivity.
The teenager is one of the five girls that
personally recounted their ordeals in the
publication which was made public on
Monday. She said that after her marriage to
the commander who was in his early 30s,
she was ordered to live with him in cave.
The experiences of three others who suffered
s*xual violence were narrated by witnesses
in the 63-page HRW report titled, Those
Terrible Weeks in Their Camp: Boko Haram
Violence against Women and Girls in North-
East Nigeria.’
The publication provides details of how
hundreds of girls and women aged between
15 and 22 were being made to suffer other
forms of abuses and used for ambushes.
The HRW said in the report that it spoke to
47 witnesses and victims, including some of
the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped from their
hostel in April this year.
The group also described how some of the
Christian abductees were ordered to convert
to Islam or be executed.
It claimed that four of the eight s*xual
assaults it recorded occurred after the girls
and women were forced to marry Boko
Haram combatants.
According to the HRW, before “marriage,” the
commanders appeared to make some efforts
to protect the women and girls from s*xual
assault.
It said that in two cases, the insurgents took
advantage of the absence of a commander
and sexually abused abductees who had yet
to be “married.”
An 18-year-old victim also described how an
insurgent sexually abused her when she went
to use the bathroom.
She said, “I did not know he followed me
when I walked a short distance away from
the tree under which we slept. He grabbed
me from behind, roughly fondling me while
trying to take off his pants. I screamed in
fright and he hurriedly left me as I continued
to shout for help.”
Another woman, who was defiled in 2013 in
one of the militants’ camps near Gwoza,
described how a commander’s wife seemed
to encourage the crime.
“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 defiled
me.”
Another woman aged 19, who was married
and had children, described how she and one
other woman were defiled after having been
abducted in April 2014.
She said, “When we arrived at the camp,
they left us under a tree. I managed to sleep.
I was exhausted and afraid. Late in the night,
two insurgents woke me and another woman,
saying their leader wanted to see us.
“We had no choice but to follow them; but
as soon as we moved deep into the bush,
one of them dragged me away, while his
partner took the other woman to another
direction.
“I guessed what they had in mind and I
began to cry. I begged him, telling him I was
a married woman. He ignored my pleas, flung
me on the ground, and defiled me. I could
not tell anyone what happened, not even my
husband.
“I still feel so ashamed and cheated. The
other woman told me she was also defiled
but vowed never to speak of it as she was
single and believes that news of her r*pe
would foreclose her chances of marriage.”
The HRW had previously documented the
widespread abuses carried out by the
Nigerian security forces in responding to the
attacks by Boko Haram.
However, the rights organisation asserted
that few members of the security forces
implicated in “serious violations of
humanitarian and human rights law,
including violations against girls and women,
have been prosecuted.”
It advised that “to ensure accountability,
Nigerian authorities should investigate and
prosecute, based on international fair trial
standards, those who committed serious
crimes in violation of national and
international laws during the conflict,
including members of Boko Haram, security
forces, and pro-government vigilante
groups.”
The group said that “in addition, the
government should provide adequate
measures to protect schools and the right to
education, and ensure access to medical and
mental health services to victims of
abduction and other violence.
“The government should also ensure that
hospitals and clinics treating civilian victims
are equipped with medical supplies to treat
survivors of s*xual and gender-based
violence.”

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