05/05/2015 06:18 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Here's Who's Helping Hundreds Of Pregnant, Rescued Boko Haram Kidnapping Victims


Among the Boko Haram kidnapping victims recently rescued were at least 214 pregnant women and girls, according to the UNFPA.

Thanks to a new infusion of armory, the Nigerian military saved 234 women and girls from the terrorist group’s stronghold in the Sambisa Forest last Thursday. As the survivors begin to settle into the IDP camps in the Borno State, the UNFPA is stepping in to offer prenatal services and psychological care to pregnant women and those who recently gave birth.

But the organization’s current tally just includes those who are visibly pregnant, according to a statement released by the UNFPA. The group is continuing its screening process.

The aid organization is armed with clean delivery kits and is equipped to handle deliveries. Last year alone, more than 16,000 women delivered at UNFPA facilities in northeast Nigeria, but not all of those cases have been confirmed as pregnancies related to the Boko Haram kidnappings.

To effectively treat severely malnourished babies, health workers gave infants intravenous drips and packs of therapeutic food to suck from, according to the AP.

Experts say that psychological support is key to helping victims who were subjected to a whole host of atrocities, including being repeatedly raped, sold into sexual slavery or indoctrinated, according to the AP.

Last week alone, the UNFPA offered psychological counseling to 15 pregnant women, but the group couldn't confirm that they were all rescued from Boko Haram.

Binta Abdullahi, who was kidnapped more than a year ago, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that she was spared from getting married off to a Boko Haram member because she was pregnant when she arrived. The group warned her that she would be forced to wed after she gave birth or she would be sold as a slave if she refused.

"They said since we would not marry them they would sell us as slaves at the right time,” she told the news outlet. "Fortunately I was rescued a day after giving birth. I thank God.”

This latest effort brought the total number of rescued females to 677. Many said they were taken captive in the past nine months when Boko Haram overtook a large portion of northeastern Nigeria and deemed it an Islamic caliphate, according to the AP.

But officials say that the schoolgirls from the infamous kidnapping in Chibok were not among those who have been recently rescued.

“One year of captivity is a long time for anyone to bear,” Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of UNFPA, said in a statement on the anniversary of the kidnapping. “It has been a year full of unimaginable suffering and anguish, not just for the girls, their families and their communities, but also for the world at large. It is time for the girls and all other abductees to resume their lives in peace. It is time for this nightmare to come to an end.”

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