Africa

Nigeria sends female police to protect Boko Haram victims

A woman carrying a child at her back walk through tents at the Muna makeshift camp for internally displaced people on the outskirts of Maiduguri, north-eastern Nigeria. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than 16,000 people live in this makeshift camp outside Maiduguri

Police in the north-eastern Nigerian state of Borno say they have deployed 100 female officers to camps for those who have fled Boko Haram's insurgency.

The female officers will ensure the protection of women, said state police commissioner Damian Chukwu.

A Human Rights Watch report last week alleged that several women had been sexually abused by security officers.

Boko Haram's seven-year battle to create an Islamic state has forced thousands from their homes.

The deployment of the officers, drawn from various divisions, is also to "dig out true happenings" in the camps, Mr Chukwu told the Nigerian News Agency.

President Muhammadu Buhari said he was "worried" and "shocked" about the HRW report and ordered an investigation into the alleged abuses.

The HRW report said women and girls had been coerced into sex and abandoned when they became pregnant.

"It is disgraceful and outrageous that people who should protect these women and girls are attacking and abusing them," said HRW's Mausi Segun.

The group blamed the vulnerability of women - many of whom are widows and unaccompanied orphans - on irregular supplies of food, clothing, medicine and other essentials in internally displaced camps in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.


Boko Haram at a glance:

Image copyright Screengrab
Image caption Boko Haram fighters still appear well armed in recent propaganda videos
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Has killed thousands, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, and abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS's "West African province"
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory since last year

'Boko Haram took my children'

Town divided by Boko Haram legacy

On patrol against Boko Haram

Who are Boko Haram?


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