How Nigerian soldiers impregnate, abandon teenagers in northeast

Ummi Hassan sat on the trunk of a felled tree, her eyes fixed on her bulging belly. She was just weeks away from giving birth but tears rolled down her cheeks.


“I was in love with a soldier who got me pregnant,” she told AFP recently on the outskirts of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in northeast Nigeria.

“He was redeployed when I was two months pregnant,” she explained.

Ummi, 18, and her army lover kept in touch by telephone and she hoped to join him one day to bring up their baby in the economic capital Lagos, 1,200 kilometres (760 miles) away in the southwest.

But she said her dreams were crushed when he refused to provide money for her antenatal care.

“I don’t have food to eat, I only eat what I get from friends,” she added.

Ahmed Bolori, the coordinator of local charity the Fa’ash Foundation, said the teenager was one of “hordes” of young women seduced by soldiers sent to the northeast to fight Boko Haram.

“A lot of young women have been impregnated by military officers who take advantage of these women,” he said.

“Before the pregnancy is detected the military officer is posted to another place and he cannot be traced.”

– ‘Not reachable’ –
Kaltime Ari, also 18, said the father of her young son was also a soldier. He gave her money for an abortion but she refused to go through with it, she said.

“I was four months pregnant when he left and I don’t know where he is now. His phone is not reachable.”

Amina Mohammed’s soldier boyfriend was redeployed to northern Borno state when she was three months pregnant with her son, Umar. Now aged two, the toddler has never seen his father.

“His colleague took me to Konduga (37 kilometres, 23 miles from Maiduguri) to see him but I was told he had been redeployed to Gwoza 90 kilometres away,” she explained.

“It was dangerous for me to go to Gwoza at the time because of Boko Haram, which made me come back and accept my fate.” Read More

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