posted at 03:50
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Kidnapped women used by Boko Haram on front line: rights group
Suspected Islamist fighters kidnapped about 30 children, including girls as young as 11, in Borno state at the weekend. A week earlier, at least 40 women and girls were seized in neighbouring Adamawa. A wave of attacks by female suicide bombers earlier this year prompted speculation that Boko Haram may have been using abducted women and young girls to carry out attacks. In all, 30 women and girls between April 2013 and April this year were interviewed, including 12 of the 57 who fled when the militants raided a school in Chibok, Borno state, taking away the 219 others. The women, who were held from between two days to three months, were seized from their homes and villages, while working on the land, fetching water or at school. Human Rights Watch said more than 500 women and girls have been abducted since the start of the insurgency in 2009, although other estimates put the figure in the high hundreds. In the camps, they described seeing other women and children - some of them infants and others as old as 65 - but were unable to say whether all of them had also been kidnapped. One of the interviewees said she saw some of the Chibok girls forced to cook and clean for other women and girls who had been chosen for "Special treatment because of their beauty".

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