Boko Haram brutality against women, girls need an urgent response – Amnesty International

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Boko Haram fighters targeted women and girls with rape and other sexual violence, amounting to war crimes, during recent raids in northeast Nigeria, new research by Amnesty International has revealed.

In February and March 2021, Amnesty International interviewed 22 people in a cluster of villages in northern Borno State that Boko Haram has repeatedly attacked since late 2019.

During violent raids, Boko Haram fighters killed people trying to flee and looted livestock, money, and other valuables.

“As Boko Haram continues their relentless cycle of killings, abductions, and looting, they are also subjecting women and girls to rape and other sexual violence during their attacks. These atrocities are war crimes,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

The targeted communities have been abandoned by the forces that are supposed to protect them, and are struggling to gain any recognition or response to the horrors they’ve suffered. The Nigerian authorities must urgently address this issue.

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The International Criminal Court must immediately open a full investigation into the atrocities committed by all sides, and ensure those responsible are held accountable, including for crimes against women and girls.

After repeated displacement, the affected communities have mostly moved to military-controlled areas, but many have yet to receive any humanitarian assistance.

Survivors and witnesses described attacks involving sexual violence in at least five villages in the Magumeri Local Government Area of Borno State. During raids, usually at night, Boko Haram fighters raped women and girls who were caught at home or trying to flee.

One woman was physically assaulted by Boko Haram fighters as she fled from an attack in late 2020. She crawled to home and hid there with her children, and saw fighters return and enter a nearby home.

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