The United Nations (UN) says at least 214 young women and girls recently rescued from the the camps of the Takfiri Boko Haram militants in northeastern Nigeria are pregnant.
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA)’s executive director, Babatunde Osotimehin, said Monday that many of these women are undergoing medical tests and screening for various diseases and infections, including HIV/AIDS.
"About 214 of those already screened were discovered to be at various stages of pregnancies, some visibly pregnant and some just tested pregnant; but we are supporting all of them with various levels of care to stabilize them," the UN official added.
“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,” Osotimehin said.
Nigeria’s army says it freed almost 7,000 women from various Boko Haram camps last week.
Army spokesman Chris Olukolade said Monday that soldiers found an additional 260 women and children, who had escaped from the terrorists, on the outskirts of Chalawa Village in the northeastern state of Adamawa.
Most of them come from the nearby town of Madagali and surrounding communities, he added.
Earlier on April 31, Nigerian army rescued 234 women and children from a Boko Haram stronghold in Sambisa Forest in the restive northeastern state of Borno.
Boko Haram militants regularly abduct women and girls during their attacks on various Nigerian villages and towns.
On April 14, 2014, the militants kidnapped 276 girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in Borno. Two days later, 57 of the girls managed to escape but 219 remained in captivity, reportedly in the Sambisa Forest.
It is still unclear if the missing Chibok schoolgirls are among those rescued recently.
Meanwhile, those who have been freed say the group is fracturing, as shortages of weapons and fuel foment tensions between its foot soldiers and leaders.
Boko Haram says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government. It has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly shooting attacks and bombings in various parts of the country since the beginning of its militancy in 2009, which has so far left about 15,000 people dead and displaced about 1.5 million.