More than 410 babies were born in the space of two months in camps for people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
“Over 410 births were recorded between August and September” in the camps in Borno and Adamawa state, said the head of NEMA, Muhammad Sani Sidi.
In the same period, there were 187 marriages — 100 in camps in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, and 87 in neighbouring Adamawa, he added in a statement.
In recent months, IDPs camps have accommodated hundreds of women and children kidnapped by the insurgents and rescued by the military during its counter-offensive against Islmaist sect Boko Haram.
A statement from Borno state governor Kashim Shettima in May said the rebels “deliberately rape women with the intention of getting them pregnant so they would give birth to future insurgents”.
The same month, a retired midwife helping at the Malkohi camp outside the Adamawa state capital, Yola, told AFP 10 to 15 women were in the early to mid-stages of pregnancy.
NEMA’s Sidi, however, made no reference as to whether the births in September and October were from women kidnapped by Boko Haram and forced into marriage with Islamist fighters.
“We just help them deliver,” NEMA spokesman, Manzo Ezekiel told AFP by telephone from Maiduguri.
“The period of time these people were displaced is not more than one year. You can still assume the husbands were responsible for the pregnancy,” he added.