At least 61 of the over 200 kidnapped Chibok girls have been married to Boko Haram militants while a total of nine have lost their lives in captivity, a confidential report has revealed.
Eight of the girls were said to have died during Nigerian air force strikes while one other died due to an unknown cause.
This is contrary to the general perception by human rights groups that most of the girls kidnapped by the Islamist militant group have been used as sex slaves.
The confidential report purportedly prepared for President Muhammadu Buhari after two weeks of profiling and debriefing of the freed girls by security operatives indicated that the militants treated them well while they were held captive.
The girls, who were released last month after Nigeria, supported by Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross brokered a deal, are now being held in a secret location in Abuja where they have been undergoing psychological assessment and rehabilitation.
According to the secret report, health workers involved in the screening have confirmed that the girls were not sexually abused while in captivity and that they all tested negative for sexually transmitted diseases.
“The girls said the Boko Haram men always assured them that they would eventually go back home to their families, and were careful about what they said around the girls and how they treated them,” said the source, who declined to be named.
“They had been fed well and regularly, until the military cut off Boko Haram supplies,” a source told Thomas Reuters Foundation. The daily routine for the girls, who were moved in captivity between Gwoza and the Sambisa forest, a Boko Haram stronghold, involved personal time in the morning followed by Koranic teaching and cooking meals, the report said.
Most of the girls said they were held in makeshift dwellings made of zinc sheets in Sambisa, while those who were married lived with their militant husbands in camps across the forest.
The girls said that while the Boko Haram militants advised them to marry and convert to Islam, they were not forced into doing so, according to the report.
“The girls said that those of them who did not agree to marry were used as house girls (servants),” the source said.
According to the source, the girls recognised almost all the faces of Boko Haram members on a government most-wanted list, but did not know the militants’ names and never saw the Islamist group’s established figurehead, Abubakar Shekau.
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