“Most of the individuals captured by Boko Haram jihadists are young women and girls taken by force and trafficked as slave concubines,” the Committee to Free Nigerian Slaves (CFNS) said a statement.
CFNS members demonstrated against the practice around a billboard in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, on June 5.
“They endure horrendous abuse and mistreatment. An example of one of these victims is displayed on the billboard: She is 18-year-old Leah Sharibu, kidnapped from her school in Dapchi, Nigeria, in 2018,” event organizer Stephen Enada told The Epoch Times.
Because Sharibu refused to renounce her Christian faith, she has been condemned to lifelong enslavement and is reportedly still in captivity in Northeastern Nigeria, according to the Leah Foundation in Dapchi. The CFNS made the same claim at a demonstration in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May.
Gov. Sani Bello of Niger State referenced slave taking and sex slavery on April 26, when he told Channels TV the insurgency known as Boko Haram had captured the town of Shiroro.
“Wives have been seized and forcefully attached to Boko Haram members. They are claiming it as their territory and will use it just as they have used Sambisa Forest,” the governor said, referring to the thornbush-choked desert used by the insurgency since 2009.
Nigeria, a key U.S. ally, is ranked third in the 2020 Global Terrorism Index of countries most impacted by terrorism. Nigeria’s complex geopolitical conflict has claimed more than 60,000 lives since the emergence of Boko Haram, which translates to “Western learning is forbidden.”
Subject specialists focusing on West Africa have warned if Nigeria—containing the largest population in Africa—slides into an Islamist state or an ungovernable territory, most of West Africa could be soon to follow.