The Nigerian government launched an offensive last week, rescuing 234 young girls and women from a Boko Haram stronghold in the Sambisa Forest. However, 214 of those girls were visibly pregnant.
The majority of female victims abducted by the clan were forced into sexual slavery and trained to fight, among many other appalling things.
Thankfully, the expecting mothers are now under the care and supervision of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), one of the few organisations who cater to the needs of women and girls. The UNFPA has cared for more than 16,000 pregnancies in Northern Nigeria in the past year.
Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA executive director, said:
What we found is that some of the women and girls that have come back actually have much more in terms of the stress they have faced, so the counselling has to be more intense and working with them one on one.
I’m glad the communities are not excommunicating them and are taking them back. That is an important therapy too. We anticipate this is going to escalate because the military intervention is continuing, we find that more people are now needing our services and we will continue.
Let’s all hope that these women can get the care they need, and somehow put this horrific ordeal behind them.