According to Reuters, Nigeria’s military has denied running a decade-long illegal scheme to perform abortions on women and girls who have been the victims of armed groups in the northwest. At least 10,000 women’s and girls’ pregnancies were aborted by the Nigerian military in the northeast of the country between 2013 and 2016, according to the news agency.
It said that those who refused an abortion risked being “beaten, held at gunpoint, or drugged into compliance,” noting that many of the women and girls had been kidnapped and raped by armed rebels.
The research was based on witness accounts from 33 women and girls, five medical professionals, nine security officers, and documentation from the military and hospitals that “described or tallied thousands of abortion procedures.”
According to Reuters, the majority of the abortions were performed without the women’s knowledge or consent, and some were done so using abortion-inducing medicines or injections that were marketed as cures or preventatives for illnesses. The agency was unable to discover who established the abortion program or who was responsible for it.
The epicenter of a battle led by armed organizations, most notably Boko Haram in 2009, is in northeastern Nigeria.
In the protracted violence, which has spread to the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, more than 40,000 people have died and about two million people have been displaced.
The Nigerian army criticized the study as “a body of assaults on the Nigerian people and culture” in its response. The protection of lives is what Nigerian military men have been raised, bred, and taught to do, it stated.