Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 2,000 women and girls in Nigeria over the last year, says a 90-page report released by human right’s organization Amnesty International Tuesday (April 14). The figure is an estimate compiled in part from interviews with several witnesses, the actual number could be much higher.
“It is difficult to estimate how many people have been abducted by Boko Haram,” the report states. “Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill’ Boko Haram’s reign of terror. The number of women and girls is likely to be higher than 2,000.”
A 19-year-old woman, who chose to remain anonymous, detailed being abducted by Boko Haram at a wedding last September, along with the bride’s sister, and the bride herself. The women were taken to a training camp, with hundreds of other female fighters. “I was among the girls trained to shoot. I was also trained how to use bombs and how to attack a village,” she said.
The teen was also gang raped, which is a common occurrence at the camps. “I was raped several times when I was in the camp. Sometimes five of them. Sometimes three, sometimes six,” she recalled. “It went on for all the time I was there. It always happened in the night… Some were even my classmates from my village. Those who knew me were even more brutal to me.”
According to one person who interviewed roughly 80 survivors, more than a quarter of the women and girls had been raped, or forced into marriage.
Boko Haram killed around 4,000 people in 2014, with attacks centered around rural areas in Northern Nigeria. As many as 2,000 innocent victims were slaughtered this past January, when extremists stormed a town near lake Chad. “Men and women, boys and girls, Christians and Muslims, have been killed, abducted and brutalized by Boko Haram during a reign of terror which has affected millions,” said Amnesty Secretary General, Salil Shetty. “Recent military successes might spell the beginning of the end for Boko Haram, but there is a huge amount to be done to protect civilians, resolve the humanitarian crisis and begin the healing process.”
Last April, Boko Haram abducted more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, leading to a global outcry across social media. In the year since the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag spread everywhere (Michelle Obama even got involved), the story has faded from top headlines, yet many of the girls are still missing.
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