A new report released by Amnesty International on Thursday says Nigerian soldiers raped thousands women and girls who were trying to escape the insurgency by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
The report says the attacks took place at Internally Displaced Persons camps throughout the country.
“It is absolutely shocking that people who had already suffered so much under Boko Haram have been condemned to further horrendous abuse by the Nigerian military,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria. “Instead of receiving protection from the authorities, women and girls have been forced to succumb to rape in order to avoid starvation or hunger.”
Amnesty added that as the military recaptured territory from Boko Haram in 2015, it ordered people living in villages to move to satellite camps, in some cases “indiscriminately killing those who remained in their homes”.
“At least hundreds, and possibly thousands, died in Bama Hospital camp alone during this time. Those interviewed consistently reported that 15 to 30 people died each day from hunger and sickness during these months,” the rights group said.
It added that at least 32 babies and children, and five women, have died in detention since 2016 at the notorious Giwa barracks.
The Nigerian military dismissed the Amnesty International’s allegations as malicious and false.
“These false reports, which are capable of derailing the good work being done by our patriotic and selfless soldiers, must stop,” the military said in a statement.
Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters also fired back against Amnesty International saying the human rights group is trying to destabilize the country. The military announced on Wednesday that it received credible intelligence report of a plan by the human rights body to release what it calls a false report.
Nigeria has waged a nine-year war against Boko Haram. Over 2 million people have been displaced and thousands have been killed.