The women and children hiked for six days through the Buni Yadi forest until they were discovered by security forces and taken to safety in Borno state, said Gambo.
Boko Haram and its offshoot the Islamic State West Africa Province have targeted women and children in attacks in northeast Nigeria. More than 1,000 children have been kidnapped since 2013, according to the U.N. development agency. That includes the 2014 abduction of 276 girls from a school in Chibok which drew international outrage. More than 100 of the Chibok girls are still missing.
“Abducted women have been subjected to violence and abuse and used as spies, fighters, and suicide bombers,” the UNDP said in a 2020 report. “Women who have escaped or been released are not always welcomed back to their communities and those returning from captivity or involvement with armed groups do not have access to the training, counseling, and reintegration programs that target men,” said the report.