An investigation by Reuters reports that the Nigerian government ran a covert and systematic mass abortion campaign against women and children, many of whom were kidnapped and raped by Islamic militants, namely Boko Haram, in the country’s northeast regions. The motivation behind the program was to “destroy insurgent fighters before they could be born,” as it is believed “that the children of insurgents are predestined, by the blood in their veins, to one day take up arms against the Nigerian government and society.”
The investigation based its findings on interviews with 33 women who underwent abortions by the Nigerian military, as well as interviews with healthcare workers, security personnel, and government employees who were involved in the operations. Additionally, Reuters said it had reviewed copies of military and hospital documents recording at least 10,000 abortions that had been carried out since 2013.
Reuters described how women were given abortions by pills or injections without their knowledge, though deception by saying they were malaria medication, or through force, where “in some instances, women who resisted were beaten, caned, held at gunpoint or drugged into compliance. Others were tied or pinned down, as abortion drugs were inserted inside them.” The investigation also revealed that some of the abortions resulted in death, but “Reuters could not determine the full scope of the deaths in nearly 10 years of the programme.”
Reuters was said it was unable to establish who created the abortion program or determine who in the military or government ran it. The Nigerian government also denied the program existed and accused that “Reuters reporting was part of a foreign effort to undermine the country’s fight against the insurgents.”
Nigerian Major General Jimmy Akpor said Reuters was motivated by “wickedness,” adding that “The fictitious series of stories actually constitute a body of insults on the Nigerian peoples and culture. Nigerian military personnel have been raised, bred and further trained to protect lives, even at their own risk, especially when it concerns the lives of children, women and the elderly.”