Nigeria: Final Onslaught – Boko Haram Killing ‘Wives’ to Prevent Marraige to ‘Unbelievers’
ICC Note: Eyewitnesses to the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria report that the Islamist militants are slaughtering their wives when the Nigerian military forces them to retreat from an area because the radicals are trying to prevent their wives from married to unbelievers of Islam. Evidence of these atrocities raises new chilling questions about the fate of the more than 200 Chibok girls kidnapped in 2014 and purportedly married off to Boko Haram militants. How many Christian women in northern Nigeria are being forcibly married and then slaughtered because Islamists believe the act is actually doing the women a favor so that they do not become disqualified for heaven?
By Chika Otuchikere, George Agba, Kareem Haruna, Tunde Oguntola with Agency Report
3/20/2015 Bama, Nigeria (AllAfrica) – Boko Haram insurgents in the town of Bama, Borno State, have slaughtered their wives as Nigerian soldiers continue to rout them in the North East. Some of them later moved to Gwoza, another Borno town, where they vowed to defend the capital of their so-called Islamic Caliphate with the last drop of their blood, the Agency France Presse (AFP) reports.
Witnesses who recounted the massacres said that the insurgents feared they would be killed by advancing soldiers or separated from their wives when they flee the town.
“Consequently, they killed their wives so that the women would not get remarried to unbelievers if their husbands die in the fierce battles with Nigerian soldiers,” said a witness who had just arrived in Maiduguri from Bama, a major battlefront in the continuing military operations to dislodge the insurgents from Yobe, Adamawa and Borno.
According to the report, the insurgents told their ill-fated wives: “We will not spare anyone of you because if unbelievers marry you, when we get to heaven, there is no way we can meet again. So we are doing this so that we can meet in heaven.”
The terrorists said they would not allow their wives to be married to ‘infidels’, the report said.
Nigeria’s military, along with forces from neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, have claimed huge victories over the insurgents in recent weeks but defenceless civilians still face serious threats.
Boko Haram fighters have received word of a military assault on Bama, formerly an Islamist stronghold in Borno State.
The insurgents had decided to flee to the nearby town of Gwoza before the troops’ arrival but they first decided to kill their wives so that nobody would remarry them.
Boko Haram forcibly married scores of women in Bama after seizing it in September. Nigeria’s military announced the recapture of the town on Monday.
Witnesses who were taken under military protection this week to Borno’s capital, Maiduguri, 73 kilometres (45 miles) away, said the killing of women began 10 days before Bama was liberated.
The Islamists said if they kill their wives, “they would remain pious until both of them meet again in heaven, where they would re-unite,” said Salma Mahmud, another witness.
“He informed them of the situation and the consequence of the takeover of the town by the advancing troops. He warned them that when soldiers killed them, they would take their wives back to the society where they would be forced to marry and live with infidels. The commander said it would be better for them to kill their wives and send them to heaven,” the mother-of-seven said.
A number of women were shot dead in front of the commander’s house, the report said.
Nigeria’s national security spokesman, Mike Omeri, told AFP he would try to verify the reports while the military could not immediately be reached for comment.