Freed Chibok girls need 'intensive support' UNICEF tells FG


More than a third of nearly 300 female students abducted by Islamic militants from a school in Nigeria two-and-a-half years ago appear unwilling to leave their captors, a community leader has said.

According to him, the unwilling girls may have been radicalised by Boko Haram, or are ashamed to return home because they were forced to marry extremists and have babies.

The girls and their parents were reunited Sunday and are expected to meet with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday or Wednesday, Bitrus said.

Mr Buhari has said his government is prepared to talk with Boko Haram about the release of the remaining girls.

"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".

The freed Chibok girls will be assessed by health workers to identify issues such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, said psychologist Fatima Akilu, who used to run a state deradicalisation programme for Boko Haram members.

About 60 students who managed to escape in the immediate aftermath of the raid in 2014 faced taunts and insults in Chibok, their home town, since they were labelled "Boko Haram wives", Bitrus told AP.

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In this photo released by the Nigeria State House, freed Chibok school girls sit during a meeting with Nigeria Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in Abuja, Nigeria, Oct. 13, 2016.

This followed a personal explanation by Senate Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, over his encounter with the rescued girls.

However, the wounded soldiers have been evacuated and receiving treatment, while efforts are ongoing in search of those missing and clear the Boko Haram terrorists at the general area.

Chibok is a small and conservative Christian enclave in mainly Muslim northern Nigeria where many parents are involved in translating the Bible into local languages and belong to the Nigerian branch of the Elgin, Illinois-based Church of the Brethren.

And "more than 100" girls still in the Islamist terror group's clutches "appear unwilling" to leave, he cautioned. Bitrus said that report was incorrect.

The insurgency has claimed more than 20,000 lives and displaced 2.6 million people since Boko Haram took up arms against the Nigerian government in 2009.

Boko Haram controlled a swathe of land around the size of Belgium at the start of 2015, but Nigeria's army has recaptured most of the territory. But the group still stages suicide bombings in the northeast, as well as in neighboring Niger and Cameroon.