We were so excited to hear about the recent rescue of 234 women and young girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, but now we’re learning of a heartbreaking development: 214 of them are now visibly pregnant.
The girls were rescued by the Nigerian army from Borno State’s Sambisa Forest. Now, as the women and girls settle into refugee camps, the United Nations Population Fund will be assisting with their pregnancies.
According to Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the UNFPA, the organization helped deliver 16,000 pregnancies last year in the North East region, which is plagued by turmoil. While not all can be confirmed as Boko Haram related pregnancies, many of them likely were.
And they won’t just be needing medical help. Tragically, many of these girls have been raped repeatedly, sold into sexual slavery and indoctrinated. As a result, they will likely need extensive psychological treatment as well.
In response to their severe, traumatic experiences, the UNFPA has deployed a team including authorities from the federal and state governments to boost the organization’s rehabilitation efforts.
The girls’ intense and long period of social isolation will also require special practices to aid their integration back into the public.
We will let you know what becomes of these victims’ stories. Here’s to hoping that the Boko Haram victims are safely able to transition back into the healthy and fulfilling lives that they deserve.