Members of the Boko Haram have been indoctrinated to believe that the children they father by women of other faiths are automatically Muslims. They therefore have no inhibition raping the girls and women they abduct.
Those were the words of the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, on Monday giving a psychological analysis of the atrocities of the sect.
Also reports have emerged that the terrorists were in disarray and fled in all directions on Monday as Nigerian troops advance on them.
Shettima said that the insurgents rape women with intent to get them impregnated in order to build an army of disciples that they hope would carry on their strange ideology even after the terrorists might have been killed.
Shettima, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mallam Isa Gusau, argued that the deliberate rape of women by the terrorists was a deliberate desire to impregnate the women so that they would give birth to future insurgents.
He called for urgent action from government to ensure that a special programme was put in place to break the dangerous cycle.
The statement read: “From studies of practices associated with the insurgents, there is a general belief among them that whoever doesn’t share their ideology is an infidel, and as such, his wife and property can be freely acquired by the sect members with the wives serving as slaves that should satisfy the sexual urge of their masters.”
It was learnt on Monday that the Boko Haram is gradually being decimated due to shortage of weapons and fuel.
Reuters quoted some women rescued from the fighters as saying that a strong disagreement had developed between the sect’s foot soldiers and leaders.
The militants began complaining to their captives about lacking guns and ammunition last month, two of the women said, and many were reduced to carrying sticks while some of their vehicles were either broken down or lacked petrol.
A 45-year old mother of two, Aisha Abbas, who was taken from Dikwa in April, said the fighters all had guns at first but recently, only some carried them.
Even the wife of their captors’ leader, Adam Bitri, openly criticized him and subsequently fled, two of the women said, with one describing Bitri as short and fat with a beard.
Of 275 freed captives brought to a government-run camp for internally displaced people in the Malkohi hamlet on the outskirts of Adamawa state capital, Yola, only 61 were over 18, and many small children hobbled around visibly malnourished.
The women said they were kept inside, occasionally brought food and sometimes beaten severely. The children were left to run around or do errands for Boko Haram while those of the fighters were trained to shoot guns.
“One evening in April, Boko Haram followers stood before us and said ‘Our leaders don’t want to give us enough fuel and guns and now the soldiers are encroaching on us in Sambisa. We will leave you.’” one of the women, 18-year old Binta Ibrahim from Adamawa state said.
“They threatened us but after they went we were happy and prayed the soldiers would come and save us.”
The women said once the militants spotted two helicopters circling at noon on the day of their rescue, they began trying to sell the women for up to N2,000 naira each. Towards evening, as the army approached, the captives refused to flee with Boko Haram fighters, who began stoning them but then ran away.
“We heard bullets flying around … we lay on the floor. Some of the women were crushed (by army vehicles) and others wounded by bullets. Eighteen were killed. We counted them, they included infants,” Salamatu Mohamed from the Damboa area in Borno said. The defence ministry was not immediately available for comment.
Mohamed said she gave birth while in captivity and had trouble feeding her newborn as there was not enough food.
Boko Haram seemed almost unstoppable and fast becoming a regional threat after it gained control of an area larger than Belgium last year and increased cross-border attacks on Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
The women said the men frequently threatened to sell them or bring them to Boko Haram’s elusive leader, Abubakar Shekau, deep in the forest.
Hanatu Musa, a 22-year old mother kidnapped in June from Gwoza in Borno state, quoted the fighters as saying their leader had deceived them into fighting and killing in the name of religion.
While the Nigerian army, which launched its counter-attack in January, is confident it has the group cornered in the Sambisa nature reserve, a final push to clear them from the area has been curtailed by landmines.
None of the women interviewed had seen any of the Chibok girls, but Abbas said fighters who travelled from a camp in Sambisa where they were held to source food would describe the situation.
“They said the Chibok girls were married off this year. Some sold to slavery, then others (militants) each married two or four of the girls,” Abbas said.