At least 214 of over 600 Nigerian women and girls recently rescued from Boko Haram's stronghold in the Sambisa Forest have been confirmed pregnant.
Babatunde Osotimehin, a UN Population Fund (UNFPA) official in Nigeria, said Monday that the rescued women and girls were being tested for disease and infection, including HIV/AIDS.
"About 214 of those already screened were discovered to be at various stages of pregnancy, some visibly pregnant and some just tested pregnant," the UN official added.
"We are supporting all of them with various levels of care to stabilize them," said Osotimehin.
He asserted that many of the women, girls and children required post-traumatic stress therapy and urgent medical attention, having gone through severe psychological trauma at the hands of their captors.
"Some of the women and girls that have come back have suffered much in terms of the stress they have faced, so counseling must be more intense and they must be worked with one on one," said Osotimehin.
"I saw so many women and children who have stress written all over them; some were lost in their lonely world, oblivious to where they were. Many show signs that they had been traumatized," he added.
Osotimehin said the UNFPA had established a partnership with the Nigerian government aimed at restoring the dignity of abductees and helping them overcome "psycho-social trauma before reintegrating them into the society."
In three separate rescue operations, the army has freed a total of 687 women and girls from Nigeria's Sambisa Forest, a Boko Haram stronghold in the country's restive northeastern region.
Nigerian troops have also rescued up to 260 women and children found fleeing Boko Haram militants in Adamawa State's Madagali local government area, some of whom had been abducted by the militant sect.
The Nigerian military – backed by Nigerien and Chadian troops – recently liberated all territory captured earlier by Boko Haram in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
By Rafiu Ajakaye
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