(By Estera Popowska)
Amnesty International said on Tuesday that Nigeria’s rebel group, Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 2,000 women and girls since the beginning of last year. The New Vision says the kidnapping of the teenagers from Chibok, in the northeastern state of Borno, on April 14 last year brought unprecedented world attention to the brutality of the insurgency.
Press reports quoted Amnesty International as saying it had documented 38 cases of abduction by the Islamists, based on testimony of dozens of eyewitnesses as well as women and girls who eventually escaped. “It is difficult to estimate how many people have been abducted by Boko Haram." Amnesty said in the report.
“Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill': Boko Haram's reign of terror” Amnesty said adding that “The number of women and girls is likely to be higher than 2,000." On the Chibok girls, Amnesty reportedly quoted a senior military source as saying they had been split into three or four groups and held at different Boko Haram camps.Some were in its Sambisa Forest stronghold in Borno state, others around Lake Chad, in the Gorsi mountains in Cameroon while about 70 girls were thought to be in Chad.
Nigeria's military has previously said it knows where the girls are but ruled out a rescue operation as too dangerous. This announcement comes year after the mass abduction of 219 Nigerian schoolgirls. The 219 teenagers have not been seen since Boko Haram released a video message in May last year, showing about 100 of the girls in Muslim dress and reciting verses of the Koran.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau reportedly said all of the teenagers had converted to Islam and been “married off”. Amnesty, which wants Boko Haram investigated for war crimes and crimes against humanity, estimates that more than 4,000 people were killed in 2014. At least 1,500 civilians lost their lives in the first three months of this year, it added (AFP/Agencies)