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A woman rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Islamist militants Boko Haram at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola on May 5, 2015. (EMMANUEL AREWA/AFP/Getty Images)

African jihad

Women rescued from Boko Haram captivity are shunned, treated with suspicion in Nigeria

April 4, 2016

Thousands of women and girls have been rescued and liberated from the hands of Boko Haram, the Islamist group that has kidnapped, raped, and killed many in Nigeria in recent years. But their lives have not returned to how they left them. For many, their native villages have been destroyed and their family members have been displaced or killed. Nigerian soldiers who helped rescue them have brought them to refugee camps or displacement camps where they are monitored by guards and known as “Boko Haram wives.” There, the women — many of whom were kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery — are shunned and treated with suspicion since so many women have been involved in Boko Haram’s suicide bombings.

The Washington Post met with and interviewed several of Boko Haram’s former sex slaves, now living in small tents in displacement camps. They spoke of being kidnapped by militants and taken to sex slave encampments in the forest, where they were repeatedly raped, and then being rescued by guards who seemed to treat them as if they, too, were militants. “There is no trust here,” one woman, Hamsatu, told the Post.

Obiageli Ezekwesili, co-founder of Bring Back Our Girls, who has campaigned tirelessly for the release of Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, will participate in a panel on African Jihad at the Women in the World Summit in New York, April 6-8.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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