Nigeria – Reuters, an international news agency, has accused the Nigerian Army of running a program of forceful abortions on female victims of Boko Haram/Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP).
The investigative report claimed that the Nigerian Army did the abortions without the victim’s consent.
Also, it was said that the army had illegally terminated at least 10,000 pregnancies, says Reuters.
The investigation published on Wednesday, 7 December 2022, said the report was compiled based on the accounts of 33 victims, hospital staff, security officials, and documents gathered.
The report said:
“Since at least 2013, the Nigerian Army has run a secret, systematic, and illegal abortion programme in the country’s northeast, terminating at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls, many of whom had been kidnapped and raped by Islamist militants, according to dozens of witness accounts and documentation reviewed by Reuters.
“The abortions were mostly carried out without the person’s consent—and often without their prior knowledge, according to the witness accounts. The women and girls ranged in age from a few weeks to eight months pregnant, and some were as young as 12 years old, interviews and records showed.
“This investigation is based on interviews with 33 women and girls who say they underwent abortions while in the custody of the Nigerian Army. Only one person stated that she freely consented. Reporters also interviewed five civilian healthcare workers and nine security personnel involved in the programme, including soldiers and other government employees such as armed guards engaged in escorting pregnant women to abortion sites. In addition, Reuters reviewed copies of military documents and civilian hospital records describing or tallying thousands of abortion procedures.”
The report quoted a guard and a health worker saying women who resisted were beaten, caned, held at gunpoint, or drugged into compliance.
The investigation linked the abortion programme to a belief widely held within the military and among some civilians in the northeast that the children of insurgents are predestined by the blood in their veins to one day take up arms against the Nigerian government and society.
Nigerian Army denies Reuters reports, clears air
On the other hand, the Defence Headquarters described the Reuter’s report as false and concocted by the news agency in a statement issued by the Director of Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, adding that the news agency team behind the story is “cruel.”
Part of the statement reads:
“Hmmm! wickedness really runs in the veins of some people, and it surely runs deep in the veins of the Reuters team that concocted such evil for interrogation.”
He stated that children were among the 82,064 Boko Haram terrorists that surrendered to troops, adding that none of them was eliminated.
Also, a civil society organization, North East Advocacy for Peace, rejected the report and accused Reuters of trying to truncate the newly found peace in the region, Punch reported.
Source: News Brief Nigeria