More women describe forced abortions in Nigerian army program

More women describe forced abortions in Nigerian army program

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‘I didn’t trust him’

Ali was at a wedding outside Nigeria last year and said she approached Yau after realizing she was from Nigeria because of the way he spoke Hausa, a regional language.

The two women, both from Borno state, swap stories and talk about their shared trauma: Both were abducted by Islamist militants, forced to marry and became pregnant while in captivity was, according to their accounts, which they gave in separate interviews. Militants have abducted thousands of women and children during the war, with women often forced to become “wives” of rebel fighters and sometimes used as suicide bombers or abducted children. goes.

Yau said she was about 25 when she was abducted and forced to marry a fighter named Abubakar. Ali said she had been married for 10 years and was raising two children when militants grabbed her from her village about three years ago and took her to Tumbun Guinea, a town near the border between Chad and Niger .

There in the camp, Ali said, Islamic fighters gathered the women and told them their husbands had been killed and they would have to remarry. She was forced to marry a fighter named Mustafa.

The two women fled on foot during a gun battle between the rebels and the Nigerian army, but were taken into custody by Nigerian soldiers.

Both women said they were loaded into army vehicles and taken to places where they were given pills and injections.

Of the 33 women interviewed by Reuters for the series published in December, most said their procedure was done through medication. Hospital records reviewed by Reuters indicate that surgical abortions were also performed. Many women also said that they had had blood and urine tests done prior to the abortion.

Before arriving at the Giwa barracks, Yau, who knew she was pregnant before she escaped, said she underwent a health check-up inside a base in the town of Bama, 70 kilometers southeast of Maiduguri. Investigations included blood and urine tests. She said he was with at least 10 other women. Some were clearly pregnant, she said. Others were not showing but told they were pregnant.

The next day, the army took them to Giwa. Yau said that when she was put in a room with three other pregnant women, army soldiers gave her pills and other injections. Soon after, she said, she started bleeding heavily.

She asked the soldiers what was happening, and she said they told her she was suffering from the stress of her escape.

“I didn’t believe them,” Yau said. “I didn’t trust them.”

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