Chibok Girls: A long road to recovery from Boko Haram's camp

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Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari (C) sitting among the 82 rescued Chibok girls during a reception ceremony at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, on May 7, 2017

Now that the Chibok girls back, the government must do all it can to ensure that they are mentally stable.

Terrorist group Boko Haram released 82 out of the Chibok girls on Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Having spent three years in captivity, the 82 girls are back from the Boko Haram den. This makes the grand total of Chibok girls released so far to 103.

There are still Chibok girls in Boko Haram captivity and the Nigerian government is in talks to have the others released.


A fallout story from the return of the 82 Chibok girls is that some of the abducted girls refused to be released. According to Zannah Mustapha, a mediator in the release of the girls, said "Some girls refused to return. I have never talked to one of the girls about their reasons.


“As a mediator, it is not part of my mandate to force them (to return home)."

'Stockholm Syndrome' is defined as a "condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity" according to Wikipedia.

There are cases of hostages who get feelings of affections for their captors. Some go ahead to marry them and have children.

It's no surprise that some of the kidnapped girls are refusing to be freed. They are most likely married to members of the terrorist group and have children.

In 2016, one of the Chibok girls Amina Ali escaped from Boko Haram with her husband and child. They were found my military forces outside Sambisa forest.


Ali's husband who claimed he was not a member of Boko Haram but was kidnapped by them too was later detained by the military and interrogated. Three months after her escape, Ali said she missed her husband.

There are others like Amina Ali who prefer to stay with their captors and re-integrate back to the society. They are already used to life with Boko Haram. Coming back to the society would bring new challenges they are not ready to cope with. They would most likely have to deal with a lot of trauma and psychological issues if they are released.

Not a lot has been said about the Chibok girls freed so far but one would hope that these young women get psychological assessment and evaluation.

"Some may be greatly affected while some may cope well," said Mr Adedotun Ajiboye, a Senior Clinical Psychologist, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).


"In order to engage effective therapeutic measures, a holistic assessment like biopsychosocial assessment should be made on anyone that encounter traumatic events to investigate if there are or will be physical, mental/psychological, social problems before, during and after the traumatic event" he further said.

It's one thing to bring the girls back and it is another thing to ensure that they are in sound mental health. The FG has done the right thing by bringing the girls back but now the reality is this- the road to the recovery of the Chibok girls is long.

from - Gist

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