The news is very distressing indeed, the protectors become the Predators.
A situation of disturbing nature has emerged from the displaced persons camps in Borno State.This has led Nigeria to deploy 100 female police officers to protect women in displaced persons camps in Borno state, after a scathing Human Rights Watch report said officials, including security guards, have "raped and sexually exploited" dozens of women.
They came there seeking protection and security. These are women who fled from the extremist militant organization Boko Haram in northern Nigeria — and as Human Rights Watch reported, they have now become "victims twice over."
The report came out last week and said the rights group documented sexual abuse against 43 different women and girls by "camp leaders, vigilante groups, policemen, and soldiers" in northeastern Nigeria's Borno state. "Four of the victims told Human Rights Watch that they were drugged and raped, while 37 were coerced into sex through false marriage promises and material and financial assistance," the report stated. And "many of those coerced into sex said they were abandoned if they became pregnant."
Now, Borno State police commissioner Damian Chukwu said the female officers "will ensure the protection of women and girls in displaced people's camps – and dig out the true happenings, as he put it, in the shelters," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton told our Newscast unit.
The men who were protecting the women initially, will no longer have that responsibility, which they have fouled with despicable and criminal behavior. As Nigeria's Premier Times reported, Chukwu said the women will be in charge of "day-to-day interaction in the camps," while "the male officers will be limited to handling of the territorial coverage and patrol [within] the camps."
He told the newspaper that he hopes the women who were assaulted will be able to speak openly to the female officers. "We feel that the victims might not want to talk freely to men, but they will be encouraged to open up to women policemen if the allegation is true," the newspaper quotes Chukwu as saying.
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The report highlighted multiple harrowing accounts of abuse; for example, a 16-year-old who fled Boko Haram who was then drugged and raped last year by a "vigilante group member in charge of distributing aid to the camp.
Immediately after the report was released, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said he had ordered an investigation. He said on Twitter that the "distressing reports will not be taken lightly."
Human Rights Watch has estimated that some 2.5 million people have been displaced by the fighting in northeast Nigeria. And as Ofeibea has reported, the number of people suffering from malnutrition there is estimated to be as many as half a million.
The thousands of people in the camps, especially the women, need adequate security and care—rights they have been deprived of so far in the most demeaning manner.