Some soldiers of the Nigerian Army in Abuja have been accused of torturing and raping dozens of ladies arrested from Obigbo (Oyigbo) in Rivers State, between October and November 2020, during a raid in the area.
SaharaReporters obtained the accounts of two of the girls, although the audio clip could not be shared because of the assurance of anonymity and confidentiality given to the victims.
The girls confessed that two female victims were tortured to death while others were routinely raped during the weeks they spent at the detention facility in Mogadishu Barracks, Asokoro.
The females were arrested from around a market in Obigbo on their way home from work between 7pm and 7.30pm on November 2020 and initially taken to the Nigerian Army base in Obinze Army Barracks, Owerri, Imo State.
From there, they were transported to Abuja and detained for “questioning” at Mogadishu Barracks, Abuja where many of them were subsequently routinely raped.
“I was raped three times. The soldiers shouted on us. They came in the morning and in the evening. We could not easily pick their identities. One of us was beaten to death. She was taken out of the detention and never returned. There were many of us – around 50 girls,” one of the victims said.
Another victim said, “I was arrested around the market square while returning from work. I was taken to Obinze barracks and from there the following day, we all found ourselves in Abuja. I was raped also. I secured my freedom through a lawyer only last week. Some of us were tortured as we were being raped.”
A civic organsiation, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, from Owerri, Imo State, in a report on the incident, said at least 53 females were raided from Obigbo, and most of them are feared to have been sexually molested by the Nigerian Army personnel.
The report was signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, the organisation’s board chairman, Barrister Obianuju Igboeli, Head of Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, and others.
“The 53 young girls and women and others in non-menopausal age bracket, were abducted by the Nigerian Army in Obigbo, Rivers State, and serially raped for weeks by its soldiers at the Mogadishu (Abacha) Barracks in Abuja.
“All the suspects, from our several investigations, were engaged in different types of legitimate occupation and other lawful social activities before the raid by the army.
“Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, as immediate past Chief of Army Staff, chillingly left a legacy of monstrosity and barbarism in the Nigerian Army. It is a height of abomination for soldiers of the Nigerian to have degraded themselves to the extent of engaging in serial rape and other abominable sexual violence against innocent and defenceless women inside the Mogadishu Barracks – a place not far away from the Headquarters of the Nigerian Army in Abuja,” the report said.
The group called for an independent government’s investigation of the incident, while demanding that Buratai and other culpable serving and retired military officers be brought to justice.