Nightmare Continues For Women Freed From Boko Haram’s Rape Camps


The recently uncovered Boko Haram’s self-proclaimed caliphate in northeastern Nigeria was a savage campaign of rape and sexual slaver. Thousands of girls and women were captured against their will and subjected to forced marriages and relentless indoctrination. Every evening they waited in thatched huts in the middle of the forest for their rapists to return. Death was their only hope of escape as even the youngest among the women was eight years old. Those who resisted were shot and with fear they all had to cooperate with their abductors.

However, many of the women were rescued by the Nigerian military who dislodged the extremist Islamist group from most of the territory it controlled. Although most of these women have reunited with their families, some of them no longer have homes to go back to, as their cities were burnt to the ground. The military has quietly deposited them in displacement camps or abandoned buildings, where they are monitored by armed men suspicious of their loyalties These women are now tagged “Boko Haram wives.”

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While the country wailed over the abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls with the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, one would assume that these other kidnapped women that were rescued would be warmly welcomed and treated with so much love and care. Instead, they are neglected to wallow in pain, misery and stigmatization.

For seven months, Hamsatu, now 25, and Halima, 15, were among Boko Haram’s sex slaves, raped almost every day in the remote Sambisa Forest. Now rescued, they currently live in a narrow, white tent in a displacement camp, with empty cement bags sewn together serving as their curtain. The women spoke on the condition that their full names were not used in order to freely describe their experiences. According to Halima, whenever she leaves the tent to get food for the two of them, people living in the camp scowl at her and avoids her like a plague.

Boko Haram