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Amnesty alleges children, women face sexual abuse in Maiduguri prison, detention facility

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An Amnesty International (AI) investigation has exposed sexual violence against children and women by security agents and inmates at two high-security prison facilities in Borno State.

The report of the investigation released yesterday said the harrowing violations took place at Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison and Giwa Barracks where thousands of civilians arrested due to claimed link with the Boko Haram armed group are being held.

Amnesty’s research also found that scores of children are being unlawfully detained alongside adults in Maiduguri Prison.

“This is another sad and disturbing case of human rights violations against civilians caught up in the Boko Haram crisis in North-East Nigeria.

“It is inexcusable that children are subjected to such vile treatment under government care, and likewise it is intolerable that women are once again bearing the brunt of abuse by the Nigerian security forces that are meant to protect them,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International Nigeria Director.

AI said it interviewed a Maiduguri Prison detainee as well as a former prison warder who both confirmed that sexual abuse of children was widespread in the prison.

The detainee said he had observed the abuse of children by adult inmates.

“It is not a secret in the prison what is happening with the little boys,” said the detainee, who spoke with Amnesty International via a contact to protect his identity.

The source also told the Amnesty that it was sometimes possible to hear what was happening in the stalls, and this confirmed his understanding that sexual assault was occurring.

Also, the Maiduguri Prison former warder, who was also too afraid to meet Amnesty International in person, confirmed that he had been aware of sexual abuse of children.

Besides, AI researchers said they also uncovered fresh allegations that soldiers have raped women in the Giwa Barracks detention facility.

Three former female detainees independently said they had witnessed such attacks and identified 10 of the male soldiers responsible – including five who worked in the detention centre’s health clinic.

Two of them said they had been sexually violated.


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