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2013 (Narrative date)

There are an estimated 1,386,000 people living in modern slavery in Nigeria (GSI 2018). Since 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, which means “Western Education is Forbidden,” has waged a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in its bid to impose Islamic law. The attacks have increasingly targeted civilians, mainly in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Borno State, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has suffered the highest number of attacks. A range of issues, including widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuse, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram.

Adaku, A 20-year old woman was abducted in May 2013 when she ran into a roadblock mounted by insurgents at Firgi, near Bama.

The blockade was up to 40 vehicles long. When the men in military uniform separated the Muslims from the Christians, we knew then they were Boko Haram. All young men including Muslims were told to either join the insurgents or be killed. They slit the throat of some of the men, saying they’d not waste bullets on them. Christian women wearing pants were shot in the leg and left to die. Older Muslim men and women wearing Muslim veils were released to go, while the rest of us were driven to their camp in Sambisa forest.


*Not their real name


Narrative provided by Human Rights Watch