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Terrorism has destroyed the lives of young women in Nigeria

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On the night of April 14th 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from a Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram, an extremist and terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram has targeted schools, killing hundreds of students. A spokesperson for the group said such attacks would continue as long as the Nigerian government continued to interfere with traditional Islamic education. 10,000 children have been unable to attend school as a result of activities by Boko Haram. The group has kidnapped over 1,000 girls, whom it believes should not be educated, and use them as cooks or sex slaves. Non-Muslim students have been forced to convert to Islam and the girls have been forced into marriage with members of Boko Haram.

Human Rights Watch recorded the account of a girl named Serah abducted for a month in 2014 who told researchers, “After we were declared married, I was ordered to live in his cave, but I always managed to avoid him. He soon began to threaten me with a knife to have sex with him, and when I still refused he brought out his gun, warning that he would kill me if I shouted. Then he began to rape me every night. He was a huge man in his mid-30s, and I had never had sex before. It was very painful, and I cried bitterly because I was bleeding afterwards.” The girl was just 15 at the time. According to Human Rights Watch, some reports have emerged that militants pray before raping women and girls, believing that any children born out of these unions will continue the jihad against the Nigerian government.

In May 2016, Amina Ali Nkeki who was among the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram was found by the Nigerian military. She claimed that the remaining girls were still there, but that six had died. However, Amina was found with her 4 month old child both of whom were badly malnourished. The baby was fathered by a Boko Haram member whom is yet to be identified. It is further enraging to note that when these girls return to their villages, their families view them with deep suspicion, either because they are carrying the children of Boko Haram fighters or because their communities fear they may have been radicalized during captivity. Not only are many women ostracized, communities fear that babies fathered through sexual violence during captivity "will become the next generation of fighters, as they carry the violent characteristics of their biological fathers”.


These young women could be any of our daughters and have undergone trauma most of us can only imagine. This campaign is directed to the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to bring to his notice the lack of care and gross negligence these girls face after being 'rescued'. There are no infrastructures set-up to facilitate the rehabilitation of these young women after undergoing such traumatic experiences and treatment.

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