On Monday, United Nations Population Fund officials confirmed that 214 of the 234 women and children rescued by the Nigerian Army from Boko Haram militants are “visibly pregnant.” Executive director of the UNFPA, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, also disclosed that, in the last year, “the organization had taken deliveries of over 16,000 pregnancies in the troubled North East part of the country.”
Boko Haram, the Nigeria-based Islamist terror group, captured over 700 Nigerians from northern Nigeria last year. Survivors of the attacks said, when they were initially captured, the militants killed men and older boys in front of their families before taking women and children into the forest.
On May 1, The Nigerian Army rescued 234 captives from the Sambisa Forest. Officials say the schoolgirls from the infamous kidnapping in Chibok were not among those who have been recently rescued.
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The former hostages said some fellow captives were stoned to death as the army approached to rescue them. Many of the woman said they were forced into marriage during their captivity. If they did not comply with the militants’ demands, they were raped, beaten, or killed.
“Every day, we witnessed the death of one of us and waited for our turn,” said Umaru, a 24-year-old mother of two.
According to Amnesty International, Boko Haram has killed thousands of people since launching its brutal insurgency in northern Nigeria six years ago.They have abducted over 2,000 girls and women since the start of last year, and many have been forced into sexual slavery and trained to fight.
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Boko Haram was founded as a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist sect advocating a strict form of sharia law, and developed into a Salafist-jihadi group in 2009, influenced by the Wahhabi movement. They seek to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, which opposes the Westernization of Nigerian society.
In March of this year, Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader, pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audio message distributed on social networks.
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