An investigation by Reuters, an international news agency, has accused the Nigerian Army of carrying out illegal abortions on victims of insurgency in the north-east.
According to the Reuters investigation, since 2013, the Nigerian military has conducted a secret, systematic and illegal abortion programme in the country’s north-east region.
In the report, at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls were ended.
“The existence of the army-run abortion programme hasn’t been previously reported. The campaign relied on deception and physical force against women who were kept in military custody for days or weeks,” the investigation reads in part.
Soldiers interviewed during the investigation were said to have revealed that women who resisted the forced abortion were either beaten or drugged into compliance.
“Three soldiers and a guard said they commonly assured women, who often were debilitated from captivity in the bush, that the pills and injections given to them were to restore their health and fight diseases such as malaria,” the report reads.
“In some instances, women who resisted were beaten, caned, held at gunpoint or drugged into compliance.
“Others were tied or pinned down, as abortion drugs were inserted inside them, said a guard and a health worker.”
Although Reuters said it could not establish who created the abortion programme or who in the military or government ran it, forced abortions reportedly occurred in at least five military facilities and five civilian hospitals in the region, especially in Maiduguri, the Borno capital.
TheCable had earlier reported how the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) said the Nigerian Army has never forced rescued women and girls to abort pregnancies.
The DHQ’s denial was contained in a statement issued on Friday by Jimmy Akpor, information director at DHQ.
“To them (Reuters), they were committed to producing an accurate, fair and complete report hence, their request to arrange a time to discuss before their reporting,” the DHQ said.
“The supposed stories were purported to focus on 2 specific areas: First, the supposed military-run programme of forced abortions performed on women and girls who were held captive and impregnated by Islamist militants and second, a supposed killing of children by the military as part of counterinsurgency operations.”