Amnesty International reports that the Nigerian Army detains girls who have fled Boko Haram

ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Amnesty International accused the Nigerian Army of illegally holding girls and young women that have escaped Boko Haram because they believe the insurgents support them.

In a statement, the military denied the allegations. The human rights group said that the allegations were based upon 126 interviews with former female captives from 2019 to 2024.

Amnesty reported that 31 people said they had been unlawfully detained in military barracks between 2015 and 2023 for a period of several days up to nearly four years, usually because of their perceived or real association with Boko Haram.

Boko Haram is a militant group that has waged an armed revolt in Nigeria’s Northeast. The U.N. estimates it has killed over 35,000 people. The group is known for its brutality and has been accused by the U.N. of torture, rapes, forced marriages, and kidnapping. The abduction of over 300 girls in Chibok, Nigeria, was the most notable incident.

Since then, many more girls have also been abducted. Many have spent years living with Boko Haram militants. Some girls have managed to escape.

In the report, Amnesty International regional director for West and Central Africa Samira Daoud said that “the Nigerian government failed to meet its human rights obligations in protecting and adequately supporting these girls and women.”

The spokesperson for the Defence Major General Edward Buba stated that the military respects and adheres to human rights.

The spokesperson for the Nigerian military said that the Nigerian military operates within the international law of armed conflicts.

Nigeria’s army has launched a counteroffensive to the Islamist group, which has been criticized for its harsh tactics.

An investigation by Reuters last year revealed the secret operation of a mass abortion program in the war against Boko Haram.

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