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IDPs: How soldiers raped us and forced us to deny it - Displaced women

By pulse

The IDPs said they lost their children because the soldiers only gave them food in exchange for sex.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the north-east have said they are forced not to expose the sexual abuse allegedly being perpetrated by soldiers and the Civilian Joint Taskforce (JTF).

A recent report released by Amnesty International had alleged that military personnel and the JTF demanded sex from the vulnerable IDPs in exchange for sex.

Following the report, the military led some journalists to various IDP camps to verify the Amnesty report but no case of sexual abuse was discovered.

"I have interacted with the stakeholders in the camps and they said that the Nigerian armed forces have neither molested, sexually assaulted nor raped any IDP as alleged by Amnesty International’s recent concocted report," the Acting Director of Defence Information, John Agim, had said during the visit.

However, speaking in a statement issued on Monday, June 5, the IDPs said they were threatened to say "there were no issues" in the camp during the visit.

The statement was published on Twitter by Knifar, a movement of women IDPs in the region led by a human rights activist, Hajiya Hamsatu Allamin.

"The military came to Dalori with journalists to ask us displaced women if we were raped. Before the visit, the women were told to say everything is fine, that there are no issues. Is this the way our complaints are handled?", the statement said.

Knifar [email protected]
4 Jun
Replying to @Knifar2017
4. We are pleading again with @NGRPresident to hear our cries and investigate the soldiers who raped us when we were in Bama. Our children died because there was not enough food. Unless we had sex with soldiers.

Knifar [email protected]
5. We have said it before: we are ready to speak to any investigation team the @NGRPresident sends to us. We only ask it will not be led by soldiers as they are also the ones who abused our women. @PremiumTimesng @dandalkura @MobilePunch @GuardianNigeria @THISDAYLIVE @daily_trust pic.twitter.com/1bbPOuUhNv

3:09 PM - Jun 4, 2018

"One of our members was there. She has an 18-month-old son, fathered by a soldier. Too scared and intimidated to speak, she said nothing. No one spoke. Why are we forced to be exposed in such a way?

"It happened to us. It is real. And we formed our group to allow women to get accountability. We have said it before. We are ready to speak but we can not imagine this is the way to do this."

Investigate 'rapist soldiers'
The women called on President Muhammadu Buhari to send an independent investigative panel to the camps to look into the issue, and they urged him to "investigate the soldiers who raped us when we were in Bama."

"Our children died because there was not enough food, unless we had sex with soldier. We have said it before: we are ready to speak to any investigation team the president sends to us. We only ask it will not be led by soldiers as they are also the ones who abused our women," the statement added.

The Army is yet to comment on the IDPs' claims as the army's spokesman, Texas Chukwu, did not respond to inquiries sent to his phone.


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