from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – MORE than 1 400 children were killed and maimed during the conflict perpetrated by Boko Haram in Nigeria between 2017 and the end of last year.
The deaths are the most serious of 5 741 grave violations against minors during that period.
Some 204 children were raped, 413 kidnapped and 3 601 forcibly recruited and used mostly by the Boko Haram. Some were used as so-called suicide bombers. Others were used in a variety of support roles including as sex slaves.
The United Nations (UN) disclosed that further 35 attacks on hospitals and schools were attacked, worsening the plight of the children.
There were 55 incidents whereby children were denied food aid during the period.
These violations were also documented but at a lower scale in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
The infringements were reflected in the context of the spillover of Boko Haram’s activities beyond Nigeria’s borders.
Virginia Gamba, the UN special representative for Children and Armed Conflict, lamented the trends.
“The children of Nigeria and neighboring countries continued to endure horrendous violations by Boko Haram,” she said.
On a positive note, a total of 3 794 children formerly associated with armed groups benefited from reintegration support by humanitarian organisations.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) led the process.
Gamba appealed to the Nigerian government to release some children detained for alleged links with Boko Haram.
“Children formerly associated should not be further penalized through detention,” the envoy said.
Boko Haram is involved in a campaign to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state northeast of Nigeria.
More than 30 000 people have been killed and over 2 million displaced.
– CAJ News