- Tens of thousands either fled or were rescued since 2015
- Rescued women subject to stigma and risks of sexual abuse
Jude Johnson and Ruth Olurounbi
Nigeria could lose thousands of women and girls rescued from Boko Haram Islamist militants to the insurgents all over again if they’re not properly reintegrated in the society, the International Crisis Group said.
Tens of thousands of women and girls who either fled from the group or were captured by the military since 2015 are still in various stages of the integration process, subject to stigma and risks of sexual abuse, the Brussels-based rights group said in a report.
“Their hardship is a humanitarian concern but also could fuel the conflict,” the Crisis Group said. “Either because they could return to Boko Haram or because their plight could deter male insurgents inclined to demobilize from doing so.”
Boko Haram and its offshoot known as the Islamic State West Africa Province are waging a 10-year-old violent campaign to impose their version of Islamic law on Africa’s most populous country of more than 200 million people. More than 20,000 people have died in the conflict and millions driven from their homes.
More than 800,000 people are currently in hard-to-reach areas, largely under the control of the insurgents, according to the Crisis Group.