“Nigerian girls have endured physical torture, rape and forced marriages in the secret forest camps of Islamist terror organization Boko Haram.”
10/27/2014 Nigeria (Fox)-Nigerian girls have endured physical torture, rape and forced marriages in the secret forest camps of Islamist terror organization Boko Haram, according to a new Human Rights Watch report released Monday.
The report draws on interviews with 46 victims and witnesses of the group’s destructive actions. Boko Haram came to international attention in April, when its fighters abducted more than 270 girls from a boarding school in northeastern Nigeria. The kidnapping sparked an international outcry and put pressure on the Nigerian government to secure their release.
Dozens of the captured girls have escaped, but officials estimate that 220 remain missing.
Earlier this month, Nigerian officials claimed the release of the girls was near after a cease-fire agreement had been reached with the group. However, there has been no sign that the captives are close to being released, while 25 more girls were abducted by Boko Haram last week. In all, the group is believed to have abducted more than 500 women and girls since 2009.
One 19-year-old told how she and her five friends were ambushed, captured, and threatened with death by Boko Haram fighters while walking to school. They were released after several days only after promising to convert to Islam and give up school.
The report describes how the group, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in a rough translation, targets Christians and students, threatening to beat or kill them unless they convert to Islam, stop attending school, and wear the traditional hijab.
Other kidnapping victims are forced to take part in attacks and carry ammunition during a battle, and some are used to lure Christian men to places where they will be killed by Boko Haram, the report states.
The report also alleges that girls who escape are largely ignored by the Nigerian government, despite their potential intelligence value. Human Rights Watch claims that Boko Haram’s captives have information on the group’s chain of command and its information-gathering capability, but are “rarely, if ever” interviewed.