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ICC Note: Boko Haram and other Islamist militant groups are notorious for perpetrating sexual violence against victims that they kidnap, including many young Christian girls and boys in northern Nigeria. The United Nations reports that captives are being forced into marriages with fighters while facing death threats if they do not comply. 

By Edith M. Lederer

4/14/2015 UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 2014 was marked by harrowing accounts of rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage being used by extremists including the Islamic State group and Boko Haram.

In a report released Monday, the U.N. chief expressed “grave concern” over sexual violence perpetrated by armed groups, including those promoting extremist ideologies in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Libya and Yemen.

“The confluence of crises wrought by violent extremism has revealed a shocking trend of sexual violence employed as a tactic of terror by radical groups,” Ban said. The secretary-general said efforts “to degrade or destroy” the Islamic State group, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, Ansar Dine and al-Qaida affiliates “are an essential part of the fight against conflict-related sexual violence.”

The report focuses on 19 countries engulfed in conflict or trying to recover from fighting where sexual violence including rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution and forced pregnancy occurs, mainly against women and girls but also against boys and men.

It lists 45 groups in Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Congo, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria as well as Boko Haram in Nigeria that are “credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of rape” in conflict — 13 of them for the first time.

The report said “one of the most alarming episodes of 2014” was the April 14 abduction of 276 secondary students by Boko Haram from a school in the northern Nigerian town of Chibok.

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