The UN has responded to reports that the military is performing forced and widespread abortions in Nigeria. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Nigerian authorities to investigate the matter, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
“General secretary [Antonio Guterres – przyp. red.] Notes with concern allegations of systemic and forced abortions reportedly being carried out by the Nigerian military against women and girls who have previously fallen victim to Boko Haram. UN Stephane Dujarric on Friday, in an email sent to Reuters.
Systemic, forced abortion. Accusations against the army
The agency said on Wednesday that the Nigerian military had been operating a secret, systematic and illegal abortion program in the northeast of the country since at least 2013. According to the accounts of dozens of witnesses and documentation reviewed by Reuters, the program involved the termination of at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls, many of whom were kidnapped and raped by Islamic militants.
“We are calling the authorities Nigeria to fully investigate these allegations and ensure that they are resolved,” a United Nations spokesman said.
State Department USA He said the Biden administration was “deeply concerned” and added: “We encourage the Nigerian government to take the allegations seriously and conduct a thorough and open investigation.”
Nigeria’s military commander said on Thursday that the military would not investigate the report, saying it was not genuine. Reuters noted that the Nigerian government did not comment on the report, and that the country’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, was not available to comment on the UN’s call for an investigation.
Boko Haram activity in Nigeria
Founded in 2002, the Boko Haram group initially set itself the goal of fighting Western education and the European way of life. In 2009, the organization launched a military campaign to transform Nigeria – or at least part of it – into a Muslim religious state governed by Sharia law.
In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, sectarian attacks and kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs are common. Such attacks, resulting in the death of many civilians, are mainly taking place in the north and northeast of the country, which is the area of Boko Haram’s greatest activity.
Religiously, Nigeria is divided almost equally between the Muslim north and the Christian south.
Main photo source: Reuters