Nigerian military officers are confirming the number of women and girls rescued from Boko Haram last week has reached nearly 700.
New details are emerging showing the plight of some of the women and girls who tried to escape. One group of women who refused to leave with their captives were stoned to death. Another group hiding in the bushes were accidentally crushed under an armored vehicle carrying soldiers.
The girls, some of them pregnant by their captors, others with newborns, are receiving medical treatment for trauma they suffered during their captivity. One woman, holding her five-day-old baby, said, “We just have to give praise to God that we are alive, those of us who have survived.”
Another woman receiving treatment was rescued just before being forced to marry one of the Boko Haram commanders. She had been abducted months earlier after the Islamic insurgents murdered her husband and forced her to leave her three children, whose whereabouts remain unknown. “When they realized I was pregnant, they said I was impregnated by an infidel, and we have killed him. Once you deliver, within a week we will marry you to our commander.”
She was among the group of women stoned by Boko Haram. She had just given birth to a child days before; as the hail of rocks came down, she said, “I held my baby to my stomach and doubled over to protect her.” Most of the other women and girls were killed. She and her child managed to survive, along with one other woman.
Nigerian bishop Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of the Diocese of Maiduguri drew international attention recently after claiming Jesus appeared to him telling him the Rosary would bring about the downfall of Boko Haram. Although the Islamic terror group seemed undefeatable last year, things took a turn in January when Nigeria began using heavier artillery and deploying helicopter gunships, as well as started receiving military aid from neighboring countries. Now Boko Haram is relegated to the Sambisa Forest, believed to be its last hold-out.