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Police to probe IDP sex abuse claims

03 November 2016, 19:00

Lagos - Police on Thursday said an investigation had been launched into allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation of women and young girls in camps for those made homeless by Boko Haram violence.

Federal police chief Ibrahim K. Idris said the reports had caused him "deep concern" and directed a special panel to conduct a "discreet and unbiased investigation".

Human Rights Watch said this week it had documented 43 cases of abuse that took place in July in seven camps for internally displaced people (IDP) in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

The abuse, including rape and sexual coercion, is alleged to have been carried out by camp leaders, police officers and soldiers.

President Muhammadu Buhari said he was "worried and shocked" by the claims.

Also read: Police arrest 4 for allegedly diverting rice meant for IDPs

Idris said police commanders had been ordered to increase security at the camps to "ensure adequate safety of all IDPs and... that all perpetrators of any criminal act are decisively dealt with in accordance with the law".

"Any act that violates the human dignity of the IDPs" will not be condoned anywhere, he added.

The governor of Borno state, of which Maiduguri is the capital, this week called for undercover police to patrol the camps.

The Boko Haram conflict has left at least 20,000 people dead in northeast Nigeria since 2009 and forced more than 2.6 million from their homes.

IDPs are also facing severe food shortages, which aid agencies say has led to high levels of severe acute malnutrition, particularly among children, and famine in some hard-to-reach areas.

- AFP

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