Boko Haram Members Marrying Abducted Girls – Report
Boys and girls abducted by Boko Haram, including Christian girls, have been forced to convert to Islam and coerced into marrying members of the group, along with other female abductees, a report by Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict noted yesterday.
Watchlist, an international network of human rights and humanitarian non-government organizations working to end violations against children in armed conflict, also accused the federal government and other international humanatarian bodies of being slow, fragmente and unable to meet the fast-growing needs of those affected by the conflict in terms of relief response to violations against children.
“Boko Haram abducted these girls and young women from schools and markets, and during raids on villages in areas across Borno State since at least December 2012. Some members of the group raped girls and young women in the camps. None of the girls and women who escaped, and were interviewed by Watchlist, had access to counseling and other health services”, the group noted.
According to the report made available on Friday, the Boko Haram sect and the Civilian Joint Task Force (“Civilian JTF”) have subjected boys and girls to forced recruitment, detention, attacks at school, abductions, rape and other forms of sexual violence in the north-east of Nigeria.
In the 64-page report entitled “Who Will Care for Us? Grave Violations Against Children in Northeastern Nigeria,” the group painted a pathetic picture of what it described as grave violations by some parties to the terrorist attacks since December 2012 and made some recommendations on how to better protect children.
“The gravity and scale of these violations warrant urgent action from the Nigerian government, United Nations and other child protection actors,” it said.
Specifically, Watchlist said the major source of worry was the forced recruitment of children for spying and assistance during armed attacks by Boko Haram, and the Civilian JTF, a self-defence militia formed in mid-2013 in Borno State.
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