Thursday 15 November 2018

Boko Haram victims raped by soldiers, says Amnesty

The use of British troops to train Nigerian forces must be reviewed after it emerged soldiers are subjecting women and girls escaping from Boko Haram to
The use of British troops to train Nigerian forces must be reviewed after it emerged soldiers are subjecting women and girls escaping from Boko Haram to "vile abuse", a report claimed. Stock photo: PA

Dominic Nicholls

The use of British troops to train Nigerian forces must be reviewed after it emerged soldiers are subjecting women and girls escaping from Boko Haram to "vile abuse", a report claimed.

Nigerian security forces have carried out "systematic patterns of violence and abuse" against young women and children they claim to have rescued, alleges Amnesty International.

Women told Amnesty they were raped in exchange for food and thousands of people, including children, had starved to death in camps set up by the Nigerian army after they were freed.

But the human rights charity also blames British forces for not doing enough to protect the women and girls.

"If it turns out that British troops have been training or supporting many of the units involved in these crimes, a UK investigation must immediately take place and British military training to those units should be suspended," said Oliver Feeley-Sprague, Amnesty UK's military, security and policing programme director.

"This evidence must serve as an urgent warning to the UK government and the British forces currently training and supporting a military that is using its power to horrifically abuse the very people it's meant to be protecting," he warned.

The report, entitled 'They betrayed us', is the result of a two-year investigation and interviews with more than 250 people.

It examines what happened to the hundreds of thousands of people, especially women, who fled or were forced from areas controlled by Boko Haram.

Some women reported being beaten and called "Boko Haram wives" by the security officials when they complained about their treatment. The report says women and girls were selected for soldiers to abuse.

Women reported that they were too afraid to refuse demands for sex.

"It is absolutely shocking that people who had already suffered so much under Boko Haram have been condemned to further horrendous abuse," said Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

A UK government spokesman said: "The military training and assistance to the armed forces of Nigeria has consistently emphasised the importance of adherence to internationally recognised rules of engagement, as well as the importance of international human rights and international humanitarian law." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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