More than 3,500 children between the ages of 13 and 17 have been recruited by non-governmental armed groups in northeastern Nigeria in the ongoing armed conflict since 2013, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
In its report on Friday, the organization said its figures on these recruits were only verified, and the real figures are likely to be much higher.
UNICEF said in its report that as many as 432 children were killed or maimed while 180 others were abducted and 43 girls were sexually assaulted in northeastern Nigeria last year, noting that five years after the abduction of the Shibok girls, (14 April) is a grim reminder that large-scale abductions of children and gross violations of children’s rights continue to occur in Nigeria’s north-east.
Boko Haram, the terrorist group, kidnapped 276 students from the town of Shibok in April 2014, sparking world outrage and highlighting terrorist activities in the region.
UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Mohammed Malick Fall called on the parties to the conflict to meet their obligations under international law to end violations against children and to stop targeting civilian infrastructure, including schools, and stressed that this was the only way that lasting improvements in life could be initiated Children in this devastated part of Nigeria.