ISIS Turned 5 Nigerian Women To Sex Slaves
Five Nigerians were among the 35 women captured by the Islamic state fighters in Sirte, Libya and turned into sex slaves for months.
The Nigerians, including two children and 28 Eritreans were recovered by Libyan forces last December and then made to face another spell of detention in a Misrata prison. They have now been released by the Libyan authorities.
Reuters said the group escaped from Sirte, a former Islamic State stronghold in central Libya, while forces from the nearby city of Misrata battled to oust the militants late last year.
Some of the women were on their way to Europe when Islamic State fighters kidnapped and held them as sex slaves.
After they escaped from Sirte, they were investigated for possible ties to the group and held for several months in a Misrata prison.
The Libyan attorney-general’s office announced that it had cleared the women of any wrongdoing in mid-February, but their release was delayed for several more weeks, with no explanation.
On Wednesday, they were received by staff from the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Libyan Red Crescent, before being taken to a shelter for medical checks.
“I’m very happy, I can’t describe how I feel, but I am very happy, I can start a new life and see my family again,” one 14-year-old Eritrean girl told Reuters before leaving the prison with the rest of the group on a Red Crescent bus.
A UNHCR official said the entire group had scabies, but otherwise appeared to be in reasonable physical condition.
The agency expects to resettle the Eritreans as refugees.
“We will send them to a safe house where they can be treated if they need medical treatment, and receive assistance from us, and be protected,” said Samer Haddadin, head of the UNHCR’s Libya mission.
“At the same time we will be processing them for refugee status determination … and we are doing this to make sure we can find a resettlement country for those who meet the resettlement criteria.”
The Nigerians, five women and two children, will be able to apply for asylum or be offered repatriation.