‘Resisters Were Beaten’: Nigerian Military Reportedly Forced Thousands Of Raped Women To Abort Their Unborn Babies

Nichole Sobecki/AFP via Getty Images

Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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The Nigerian military conducted a “secret, systematic and illegal” program since 2013, forcing women raped by Islamist militants to abort their babies, Reuters reports.

The program reportedly resulted in at least 10,000 deaths of unborn children. Women who resisted were beaten, held at gunpoint, or drugged into compliance.

The Reuters investigative report follows the story of Fati, a woman who was raped by Islamist insurgents who held her and several other women captive. After being liberated by the Nigerian military, Fati was led into a room in barracks in Maiduguri where uniformed men gave her and the other women “mysterious” shots and pills. (RELATED: Her Fiancé Abandoned Her When She Refused An Abortion. Years Later, She Works At Pregnancy Center That Helped Her)

“After about four hours, said Fati, who was about four months pregnant, she felt searing pain in her stomach and black blood seeped out of her. The other women were bleeding as well, and writhing on the floor,” according to the report.

Fati says the soldiers aborted her baby without telling her until after the abortion had occurred. As the women washed the blood away from the procedures, they were warned not to speak of what had occurred.

“If you share this with anyone, you will be seriously beaten.”

Another woman, Bintu Ibrahim, told Reuters she was given injections without her consent after fleeting Islamist extremists three years ago. It was only once she started bleeding profusely and felt “terrifying paint” that she knew the injection she had been given and induced an abortion. Her account was confirmed by another woman who had been held captive with her.

“If they had left me with the baby, I would have wanted it,” Ibrahim said.

The same woman said another woman died after an injection was administered, an account which other witnesses corroborated.

“That woman was more pregnant than the rest of us, almost six or seven months,” Ibrahim recounted. “She was crying, yelling, rolling around, and at long last she stopped rolling and shouting. She became so weak and traumatised, and then she stopped breathing. They just dug a hole, and they put sand over it and buried her.”

Some women were as young as 12, and some were as far along as eight months. Reuters interviewed 33 women and girls for the report, in addition to healthcare workers, security personnel, soldiers, and government employees. Only one woman interviewed consented to abortion.