A lengthy investigation of Reuters revealed how since 2013 the Nigerian army has been conducting a secret program to abort at least 10,000 women and girls in the north-east of the country, without their consent. The investigation is based on the testimony of 33 women and girls forced to have an abortion and on that of dozens of other people including health workers, soldiers and government employees who are allegedly actively participating in the program. Reuters She also says she has come into possession of copies of military documents and hospital records describing or otherwise noting thousands of such abortion procedures.
Many of the women and girls in question had previously been kidnapped and raped by Islamist militants, and then released by the Nigerian army, which kept them in custody for a few days or weeks after their release. Abortions were performed during those times, either by deception or by force. In many cases, women were given pills or injections with the excuse of some disease, which instead served to abort: those who opposed were instead forced with beatings and whips, immobilizations or drug administration. The youngest of them were 12 years old and the interrupted pregnancies could also be in a very advanced state, up to 8 months. Several women died as a result of these abortions (there are testimonies of those who buried them), although Reuters she was unable to figure out how many.
The goal of the plan is not entirely clear, but from the testimonies gleaned from Reuters it would seem linked to the fact that the pregnancies had almost all been caused by rapes by members of extremist groups linked to the Islamic State: those that the Nigerian army has been fighting in the north-east of the country in a war that has been going on for 13 years. Some Nigerian officials interviewed by Reuters they denied the content of the investigation, arguing that it would have been impossible to hide such a plan, given the large presence of international organizations in the country, including some United Nations agencies.