The militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, has abducted at least 2,000 women in Nigeria since the start of 2014.
Amnesty International, which stated this in a report on Monday, said the abducted women were forced into sexual slavery and trained to fight.
The report was issued on the first anniversary of the abduction of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls on April 14, 2014.
The 90-page report is titled, “Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill’: Boko Haram’s reign of terror.”
According to the AI, the report was based on nearly 200 witness accounts, including 28 with abducted women and girls, who escaped captivity.
The report which highlighted multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Boko Haram, also threw up new light on the brutal methods used by the sect in the North-East.
It noted that men and boys were regularly conscripted or systematically executed and young women and girls abducted, imprisoned and in some cases raped.
The young women, according to the report, were forcibly married and made to participate in armed attacks, sometimes on their own towns and villages.
The AI’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty , said, “The evidence presented in this shocking report, one year after the horrific abduction of the Chibok girls, underlines the scale and depravity of Boko Haram’s methods.
“Men and women, boys and girls, Christians and Muslims, have been killed, abducted and brutalised by Boko Haram during a reign of terror which has affected millions.
“Recent military successes might spell the beginning of the end for Boko Haram, but there is a huge amount to be done to protect civilians, resolve the humanitarian crisis and begin the healing process.”
The report contains graphic evidence, including new satellite images of the scale of devastation that Boko Haram had left in their wake.
The abduction of 276 schoolgirls gained global attention with the help of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
The AI stated that the missing schoolgirls were only a small proportion of the women, girls, young men and boys abducted by Boko Haram.
It reported that the sect always took the abducted women and girls directly to camps in remote communities or to makeshift transit camps such as the one established in Ngoshe prison.
Abducted Chibok girls
According to the group, from transit camps, Boko Haram would move them to houses in towns and villages and indoctrinate them with their version of Islam in preparation for marriage.
AI made reference to a 19-year-old girl, whose name was given simply as Aisha, who narrated how she was abducted from a friend’s wedding in September 2014 along with her sister, the bride and the bride’s sister.
According to the AI, one week later, Boko Haram forced the bride and the bride’s sister to marry their fighters. They also taught Aisha and the other women and girls how to fight.
It quoted Aisha as saying,“They used to train girls on how to shoot guns. I was among the girls trained to shoot. I was also trained on how to use bombs and how to attack a village.
“The training went on for three weeks after we arrived. Then they started sending some of us to operations. I went on one operation to my own village.”
Aisha said that during the three months that she was held captive, she was raped repeatedly, sometimes by groups of up to six fighters.
She also saw more than 50 people killed by Boko Haram, including her sister.
Aisha added, “Some of them refused to convert. Some refused to learn how to kill others. They were buried in a mass grave in the bush. They’ll just pack the dead bodies and dump them in a big hole, but not deep enough. I didn’t see the hole, but we used to smell the dead bodies when they start getting rotten.”
Since the start of 2014, Amnesty International documented at least 300 raids and attacks carried out by Boko Haram against civilians.
According to the report, Ahmed and Alhaji, aged 20 and 18, were seated with other men, waiting for their throats to be cut after Boko Haram took over Madagali on 14 December 2014.
Ahmed told AI that even though his instinct told him to run, he could not.
He said, “They were slaughtering them with knives. Two men were doing the killing…We all sat on the ground and waited our turn.”
Alhaji only managed to escape when a Boko Haram executioner’s blade became too dull to slit more throats.
He said, “Before they got to my group, they killed 27 people in front of me. I was counting every one of them because I wanted to know when my turn would come.”
He said that at least 100 men who refused to join Boko Haram were executed in Madagali on that day.
In Gwoza, Boko Haram killed at least 600 people during an attack on August 6, 2014. Witnesses told AI how anyone trying to escape would be pursued. One of the witnesses said, “The motorcycles went to surrounding areas, each street corner, where they will shoot you. They are only shooting the men.
‘‘Thousands fled to nearby mountains where Boko Haram fighters hunted them down and forced them out of the caves where they were hiding with tear gas canisters. The women were then abducted. The men were killed.’’
Satellite imagery commissioned by the AI enabled the organisation to document the scale of devastation wreaked by Boko Haram.
This includes new before and after images of Bama commissioned for the report. These show that at least 5,900 structures, approximately 70 per cent of the town, were either damaged or destroyed, including the hospital, by retreating Boko Haram fighters as the Nigerian military regained control of the town in March 2015.
Life under Boko Haram
The report documents the reign of terror for those under Boko Haram rule.
Soon after taking control of a town, Boko Haram would assemble the population and announce new rules with restrictions of movement, particularly on women.
Most households became dependent on children to collect food or on visits by Boko Haram members who offered assistance, distributing looted food.
Boko Haram enforced its rules with harsh punishments. Failure to attend daily prayers was punishable by public flogging.
A woman who spent five months under Boko Haram control in Gamborou told Amnesty International how she had seen a woman given 30 lashes for selling children’s clothes and a couple executed publicly for adultery.
A 15-year-old boy from Bama, spared by Boko Haram due to his disability, told Amnesty International that he had witnessed 10 stonings