As upsetting as the news is surrounding the women rescued from the hands of Boko Haram, it appears to be a classic case of Stockholm syndrome, in which a captive is indoctrinated to the degree that he or she adopts the mindset of the captors.
Some of the nearly 300 girls and women freed by Nigeria's military from the forest stronghold of Boko Haram were so transformed by their captivity that they opened fire on their rescuers, and experts said Wednesday they would need intensive psychological treatment... [and] further screening was needed before their identities could be determined.
"The processing is continuing, it involves a lot of things because most of them are traumatized and you have got to put them in a psychological frame of mind to extract information from them," Usman said.
A counselor who has treated other women freed from Boko Haram captivity said some had become indoctrinated into believing the group's Islamic extremist ideology, while others had established strong emotional attachments to militants they had been forced to marry.
Some of the about 90 women and girls freed by the army four months ago in Yobe state, for example, had upset their community on their return by maintaining that the militants were good people who had treated them well, said the counselor, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he has been targeted by the militants in the past.
"The trauma suffered by the (abducted) women and girls is truly horrific," said Amnesty International's Africa director for research and advocacy, Netsanet Belay. "Some have been repeatedly raped, sold into sexual slavery or indoctrinated and even forced to fight for Boko Haram."
That is what appeared to have happened this week when the Nigerian military said troops rescued the women and girls while destroying four Boko Haram camps in the Sambisa Forest.
None of them seem to be the Chibok girls, whose abduction garnered international attention last year. Prayers must continue for these women, the rest of their captives, and the anguished families.