Nigerians Urged to Not Reject Schoolgirls Released by Boko Haram

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Families of kidnapped schoolgirls

On Monday, the United Nations welcomed the release in Nigeria of 82 schoolgirls detained for the past three years by the jihadist group Boko Haram, calling on their families and relatives not to reject them.

UN spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, called on all Nigerians, including the families and communities of the freed girls, to accept them fully and to provide them with all the necessary support to ensure their reintegration into society. He pointed out that unfortunately, in some parts of the world, victims of sexual assault sometimes face rejection from family and community members.

These teenage girls are among the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from their high school by the jihadist group in April 2014. They were recently released in an exchange for members of the Boko Haram organization formerly apprehended by the government.

The schoolgirls were met on Sunday in Abuja by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who promised to do everything necessary for their reintegration.

One of the young women was accompanied by a child under the age of two, according to a military official.

The head of the Boko Haram faction, Abubakar Shekau, has claimed some of the detain schoolgirls were forced to marry – or were sold to – his fighters.

A United Nations agency, which provides medical assistance to women around the world, will provide psychological and gynecological care to the girls.

Michelle Obama
Former First Lady Michelle Obama holding a sign with the hashtag “#bringbackourgirls” in support of the 2014 Chibok kidnapping.

Photos (Wikimedia Commons):
Parents of some of the 2014 kidnap victims (Voice of America) | Michelle Obama (Flotus on Twitter)