‘Any child they father will grow to inherit their ideology…’
BORNO State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has said that Boko Haram insurgents deliberately rape girls and women with the intention of getting them pregnant, so they would give birth to future insurgents as successors of their violent struggles in the North East of Nigeria.
Shettima made the declarations on Sunday, while addressing top government officials at the Government House, Maiduguri, on the rescue of over 700 children, girls and other pregnant women by the military in Sambisa Forest.
He said with this development, there should be a “special programme” to break the chain anticipated by the insurgents of deliberate impregnation to increase the population of Boko Haram sect members.
Shettima also said: “From my studies of practices associated with the insurgents, there is a general belief among them that whoever doesn’t share their ideology is an infidel and as such, his wife and property could be freely acquired by the sect members, with the wives serving as slaves that should satisfy the sexual urge of their masters.”
The governor said it was held among the sect members that children fathered by them were likely to share their ideology later in life and succeed their parents in years to come and as such, the circle would be maintained.
The governor’s comment on Sunday came when hundreds of women and children were rescued by the military amidst reports that some of the women were visibly pregnant even though it was not clear whether they became pregnant in captivity or were captured with the pregnancy.
Shettima said: “I am happy with the recovery of hundreds of women and children. It is a thing of joy that they have been freed alive.
However, I am also very worried about what the future holds for us, if what I have gathered about these insurgents, works according to their plan. I remember discussing this in an elaborate interview I granted last year.
“These people (Boko Haram) have a certain spiritual conviction that any child they father would grow to inherit their ideology, whether they live with the children or not. They also believe that whoever does not hold their ideology is an unbeliever that should be killed and rendered homeless and whatever belongs to him or her becomes a legitimate booty recovered from the enemies. This booty includes women that are then allocated to ranking leaders of the sect as sex slaves.
“The sect leaders make very conscious effort to impregnate the women, some of them, I was told, even pray before mating, offering supplications for God to make the products to become children that would inherit their ideology.
After getting their captives pregnant, they would keep them to allow the pregnancy mature to an extent of say, four or more months, to make abortion difficult or impossible for the women due to life threat in carrying out abortions at that level. They abandon the women afterwards to go and give birth anywhere else. In most cases, the women return home or get assistance from the traditional birth attendants.”
He continued: “I wouldn’t be surprised if in some cases, the women deliver in captivity and the children are up to four or five years, since the sect began its operation. Perhaps, the Sambisa camps might have been in existence since 2009 or afterwards.”
“The sect is known to usually have medical teams and make-shift clinics for treating injured men and other health challenges.”
“I do not have any official information yet regarding these issues but
I have read from some online media houses that many girls were rescued with visible pregnancies and some with newly-born babies.”
“Of course, I expect our security agencies to establish the paternity of all children recovered from interactions with the victims and other forms of investigation.”
He, however, noted: “My major concern is how we as stakeholders from the
Federal and State Governments will manage women that might be affected.”
“I am worried with the fact that most women tend to hate and abandon children they deliver from rape.”
“Now, the problem is that these children could go to the streets unattended to. They then lack access to food, healthcare and education. The result is that they could, indeed, inherit their fathers’ ideology somehow. We also don’t know whether the sect members would, after putting a woman in the family way, identify them with particular communities and put a mechanism to monitor the children and whisk them away in future. So, after establishing the paternity of the children and background of those pregnant, where any is found to be pregnant, the Federal Government would have to work with state.”
“Governments whose citizens are affected should report so that we could get the involvement of medical and psychosocial specialists as well as child welfare experts to deal with the situation by properly documenting these kids without getting them stigmatised, monitor and work towards raising these kids to become educated future leaders without the slightest ideologies of their fathers in order for us to cut the cycle being envisaged.”
“We can achieve this in order to safeguard the future of our communities. We must show love to these innocent children as much we should and support the innocent mothers as well. This is equally in our self-interest,” Shettima added.