The United Nations Children’s Fund has called on the Nigerian Government to provide “intensive support” for the 21 freed Chibok girls to safeguard their future.
UNICEF made the call in a statement signed by its country representative, Mr. Gianfranco Rotigliano, and made available to journalists on Tuesday in Maiduguri.
Rotigliano said, “The emotional reunification of the 21 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram more than two years ago in Chibok with their families, highlights the need for intensive support for women and girls who have been held by the group.
“The release is great news and we are delighted to see the girls back with their families.
“But we must keep pressing for all the women and children held by Boko Haram to be freed.”
He noted that all those held captive by Boko Haram were likely to have been subjected to violence and needed serious support to rebuild their lives.
He said, “We must bear in mind that all the people held by Boko Haram will face long and difficult process to rebuild their lives after the indescribable trauma they have suffered.
“The more than 200 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram in April 2014 are among thousands of women and girls that UNICEF estimates have been held and subjected to violence by the group.
Stressing that UNICEF has supported hundreds of women and girls who have already been released or escaped from Boko Haram, Rotigliano said they girls reported that they were subjected to rape – frequently in the form of forced “marriages” – beatings, intimidation and starvation during their captivity.
He added, “Many returned pregnant or with babies as a result of rape. When they reach safety, girls who have been held by Boko Haram are often ill, malnourished, traumatised and exhausted.
“They are in need of medical attention and psychosocial support so they can begin to come to terms with their experiences and reintegrate with their families and communities.”Punch