More than 200 Women Rescued From Boko Haram are Pregnant

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( — May 6, 2015)  — Nigeria – Local Nigerian media cited Chief of the UN’s Population Fund (UNFPA) who said his organization found that about 214 women rescued from Islamist Boko Haram militants in north-east Nigeria are pregnant.

The UN fears that number of woman who were impregnated by their kidnappers is much higher, as the Nigerian military said it freed nearly 700 women last week.

“Already, many of them are undergoing screening for various diseases, infections including HIV/AIDS and about 214 of those already screened were discovered to be at various stages of pregnancies, some visibly pregnant and some just tested pregnant,” said UNFPA Nigeria executive director Babatunde Oshotimehin speaking in Lagos, Russia Today reported.

“We are supporting all of them with various levels of care to stabilize them,” he said adding that “Some of the children that were freed along with the women, it was discovered, were born in the forest and had never been out in the open until their release by the Nigerian Army.”

The UNFPA has also been providing psychological counseling to the women and children because “women and girls have specific needs that nobody else looks after,” Oshotimehin said.

According to Oshotimehin, the counselling has to be more intense and working with women has to be one-on-one since some of the women and girls that have come back actually have much more in terms of the stress they have faced, UNFPA found.

UNFPA aided over 16, 000 pregnant women in 2014 only, who had given birth in camps for internal refugees, Osotimehin also noted.

The Nigerian army announced on Friday that it had secured the release of another 234 women and children who had been held hostage in the Sambisa forest. Over 677 females were rescued from Boko Haram’s stronghold last week, AP reported.

Boko Haram, a terrorist group founded in 2002, whose name means ‘Western education is forbidden,’ has recently demonstrated more pronounced commitment to the Islamic State militants (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), changing its name to ISWAP or Islamic State’s West Africa Province in April.

It’s militants are been held responsible for killing more than 13,000 people over the past six years in an effort to establish an Islamic caliphate in northeastern Nigeria.