(FiveNation.com)- In a report released by Reuters on Monday, the Nigerian military was charged with murdering children while battling Boko Haram and other jihadist organizations.
Another Reuters report from last week claimed that the Nigerian military has been conducting forced abortions in the area controlled by militant groups for almost ten years.
44 civilian and 15 military eyewitnesses cited in a report on child massacres on Monday claimed that Nigerian forces killed the “children of Boko Haram” on purpose. The mothers and fathers were frequently killed and interred in mass graves with the children.
Army commanders repeatedly ordered soldiers and armed guards to “delete” children because they were believed to be working with militants in Boko Haram or its Islamic State offshoot or having inherited the tainted blood of insurgent fathers, according to a Reuters report.
Estimates say “thousands” of children have been killed over the past 13 years. Reuters thoroughly investigated six incidents with at least 60 young victims. Many parents told reporters that the military abducted their children in the past and that they were unsure of the whereabouts of the missing children.
“I don’t see them as children. I see them as Boko Haram. If I get my hands on them, I won’t shoot them; I will slit their throats. I enjoy it,” a Nigerian soldier who had lost his best friend to the rebels told researchers.
Other soldiers told Reuters that they were prepared to fire on kids because Boko Haram and other jihadi organizations use them as “human bombs” or child soldiers.
Defending their soldiers as professionals who are “trained to protect lives, even at their own risk, especially when it concerns the lives of children, women, and the elderly,” Nigerian military officials denied the accusations.
However, Reuters pointed out that the International Criminal Court and human rights organizations have previously made allegations about the killings of civilians and children. In 2015, the Nigerian government investigated allegations of extrajudicial killings committed by its armed forces, but the investigation was closed.
There is a “secret, systematic, and illegal abortion program” in northeastern Nigeria, according to Reuters, and it has resulted in the termination of at least 10,000 pregnancies since 2013.
Women who had been “kidnapped and raped by Islamist militants” were frequently the subjects. When these women resisted, they were “beaten, held at gunpoint, or drugged into compliance.”
Officials from the Nigerian military denied the claims of forced abortions and charged Reuters with slander, just like they had done with the report of children being killed during the conflict with Boko Haram.