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Boko Haram and Daesh: How Women Are Abused for Terror

Boko Haram has published a new video demanding the release of its fighters, leaving families and audiences around the world demanding change.

The distressing video shows about 50 of the Chibok school girls kidnapped two years ago, claiming that some have been killed in government airstrikes.

Raping, murdering and kidnapping at gunpoint, the terrorist group Boko Haram has been responsible for destroying the lives of thousands of people in north east of Nigeria. There are still 217 girls missing of the victims who were taken from their school dormitories in April 2014.

The subjugation of women is a definitive characteristic – perhaps even an expectation – of the cruel and nasty work of militant organisations, in a grotesque attempt to show dominance. The case of the Chibok girls points to this.

But Boko Haram is deeply fragmented, often displaying division and contradiction. Last year, Daesh “welcomed” the pledge of allegiance from the group. This pledge appears to have caused a rift within Boko Haram showing their disorientation and lack of leadership.

Women are shown weeping silently in the backdrop of the video, sitting and standing, wiping their faces on their black and grey abayas. One holds a child in her arms. They are clearly weak as a result of malnutrition and endless abuse at the hands of their captors.

Maida Yakubu, as she identifies herself, states: “We are all children. We don’t know what to do. The suffering is too much. Please try. We have been patient. The only thing that can be done is to give them their people so we can go home.”

The graphic footage really demonstrates the impact that vicious and deadly tactics can have on families, societies and the wider region. Terrorist groups, including Boko Haram and Daesh, are continuing to wreak havoc in unstable parts of the world. Like the Yazidi women, many of the Chibok girls have endured sexual slavery and exploitation, forced conversions and marriage to members of Boko Haram. They have suffered terribly for almost 28 months that they have spent in captivity.

This must drive us to press on harder and stand up for our women against any form of violence or mistreatment. We know that women’s rights are enshrined in Islam. What Boko Haram and other organisations continue to commit is unforgiveable and must be battled to the very end.