Date
18 October 2017
Most of the rescued girls and women are housed in a camp for people whose homes and villages were burned by Boko Haram. Photo: WSJ
Most of the rescued girls and women are housed in a camp for people whose homes and villages were burned by Boko Haram. Photo: WSJ

Nigeria struggles to help girls rescued from Boko Haram

Nigerian officials are scrambling to open a second rehabilitation camp after Boko Haram abandoned hundreds of kidnapped women and girls.

The frenetic effort is a sign of how fast the abductions by the militant group has reversed, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

In the past few weeks, soldiers have rescued about 1,000 women and girls the Islamist insurgency left behind.

They include about 275 that army pickup trucks brought into the city of Yola on Saturday night and 260 rescued on Sunday.

That is forcing officials to search for a second site to house the women, many of whom are traumatized, said Sani Datti, the spokesman for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency.

The bulk are currently being held at a camp for people whose homes and villages Boko Haram had burned.

Nigeria’s military said soldiers are screening the former captives — a process that could also determine if any were among the 219 schoolgirls still missing since their abduction in Chibok last year sparked global condemnation.

“Many of them told us that they have been hungry for days,” Datti said.

Just months ago, Nigeria was losing girls and women — and men and boys — on a weekly basis to Boko Haram.

Now, as the insurgents flee to the mountains, the army is bringing many hostages home.

Africa’s biggest country by population has seen more than 22,000 people die in the Boko Haram conflict over the past four years.

“For now, we just want the military to be through with their screening and hand over the rescued women and children to us,” said Isa Gusau, spokesman for the state. “We will take care of their welfare.”

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