Nigerian Army chief testifies over alleged mass abortion 

The Nigerian Army has formally dismissed a Reuters report of alleged mass abortion carried out by the military on victims of Boko Haram terrorism in the North-east.

The Chief of Army Staff, Farouk Yahaya, issued the denial Saturday in Abuja while testifying before a panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate the matter.

The panel is officially known as Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations in the Implementation of Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East (SIIP-North East).

Mr Yahaya, a lieutenant-general, said the military has a key goal of combating insurgents and restoring peace in the troubled region. It, therefore, could not have embarked on the secret abortion programme alleged in the Reuters report.

He denied the Reuters’ report of the abortion of 10,000 pregnancies, the massacre of children and other allegations of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against the army. He challenged the international media outlet to substantiate the claims.

Though the Nigerian military authorities had issued a statement to deny the story, Saturday was the first time Mr Yahaya would publicly react to the issue.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported that Reuters in an investigative report published in December 2022 alleged that the Nigerian military operated a secret programme, terminating at least 10,000 pregnancies of women who were freed from Boko Haram terrorists in the troubled region.

It reported that the Nigerian military since 2013 carried out “a secret, systematic and illegal abortion program in the country’s northeast, ending at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls” who were kidnapped and raped by Islamist militants.

The report triggered global outrage with the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, calling on the Nigerian government to begin a thorough investigation and “immediate remedial actions and accountability measures.”



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