Some of the Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April 2014 will start at the American University in Yola, Adamawa state this month, the Nigerian government says.
Of the 276 girls abducted three years ago, 106 have been either found or freed so far. Eighty-two girls were released in May in exchange for an undisclosed number of Boko Haram commanders, while 21 others were released in October 2016.
57 girls fled immediately, so there are estimated to be 113 still in captivity.
Since being freed, they have been in the custody of the government, which says it has provided them with counselling and help. But last night (13 September) the government held a farewell party for them in the capital, Abuja, to mark the end of their rehabilitation programme.
On 22 August, the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, had announced “All the 106 girls are now fully recovered, ready for re-integration with their families and the larger society, and to go back to school”.
Last night she told the BBC “It’s a very happy night … because when these girls came back they were so traumatised they didn’t believe that they were free.
“They were having nightmares, you could see a lot of trauma in them … so we had to do a lot of therapy on them.
“To the glory of God, they have now settled down, they have fully recovered.
“They are very anxious to go home. Before, when you talked about going home, they would tell you that they didn’t want to go to Borno state, where the insurgency is happening, but now any time you tell them: ‘You will soon go home,’ they start shouting, singing and dancing, and they are also very anxious to go back to school.”
Some of them have undergone surgery, and a prosthetic limb was provided for a girl who lost a leg while in captivity. Four babies were also said to be in good health.
World Watch Monitor earlier reported that five of the girls who have been taken to the United States by benefactors; one has been at university already.
A few months ago, some of the parents had complained that their daughters had not been allowed back to visit their homes sooner, saying this would have contributed to their rehabilitation. The government had responded by saying it needed to be sure about security concerns.