The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a new report which showed that at least 500 women and girls have been seized by the Boko Haram insurgents since 2009 when the insurgency began.
The report, released yesterday, titled: “Those Terrible Weeks in their Camp- Boko Haram Violence against Women and Girls in Northeast Nigeria”, gave a graphic account of how the abducted girls were used to lure members of the Civilians Joint Task Force to ambush and captivity.
HRW revealed that although the April 14, 2014 abduction of 276 girls from a secondary school in Chibok brought the spotlight on the scourge of kidnapping in North-East, many more girls, women and men were also kidnapped.
The report further said 30 women and girls, who were once prisoners of Boko Haram, told its researchers how they were subjected to a variety of abuses, sometimes for refusing to convert to their so-called version of Islam.
The organization interviewed some of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the group on April 14, but who later fled or were released. More broadly, the majority of the abductions documented by Human Rights Watch took place in southern Borno state.
The women suffered forced labour, including forced participation in military operations; forced marriage to their captors; and sexual abuse including rape.
According to Human Rights Watch, 14 women and girls who had either escaped or were released from Boko Haram camps in the Sambisa forest and Gwoza hills, as well as other witnesses, described how they and others at the camp were routinely forced to cook, clean, and perform household chores while in Boko Haram custody in the camps.
In 2010, a woman who had been abducted and held for three days by Boko Haram in 2009 was quoted as speaking about how she had been forced to wash the bloodied clothes of insurgents killed in the July 2009 violence.
Other abducted women and girls were forced to participate in military operations to support the group.