According to a report by the international news organization Reuters, the Nigerian Army has been conducting illegal abortions on women who have fallen prey to the insurgency in the country’s northeast.
The Nigerian military has allegedly been running a covert, systematic, and illegal abortion program in the country’s northeast area since 2013.
An estimated 10,000 unwanted pregnancies among women and girls were terminated.
“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.
According to soldiers interviewed as part of the inquiry, those who refused the forced abortion were assaulted or drugged into submission.
“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.”
According to Reuters’ reporting, forced abortions took place in at least five military institutions and five civilian hospitals across the region, with the majority of these abortions taking place in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Reuters was unable to determine who initiated or oversaw the abortion program.
According to previous reports, the Nigerian Army has never coerced rescued women and children into having abortions. This comes from the Defense Headquarters (DHQ).
The DHQ’s rejection was contained in a statement made on Friday by Jimmy Akpor, information director of 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.”