Over 3,500 Children Have Been Recruited By Terrorist Groups Between 2013 and 2017, According to UNICEF

— UNICEF, represented by Mr Mohammed Fall has called on all Nigerians to be responsible for the protection of children rights against violence and other form of abuses. 

— The agency also released an alarming statistics of more than 3, 500 children aged between 13 and 17 were recruited by terrorist groups between 2013 and 2017. 

Representative of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, Mr. Mohamed Fall has called for the protection of children rights against violence and other form of abuses in the nation in a statement released on Thursday.

The statement was released on behalf of Mr Fall by the Communication Analyst of UNICEF’s Field Office in Maiduguri, Mr Kusali Kubwalo. He mentioned that the charge would serve as reminder against the widespread abductions and grave violation of children’s rights in the northeast region.

In his words, “More than 3, 500 children aged between 13 and 17 were recruited by non state armed groups between 2013 and 2017; and used in the ongoing conflict in northeast.

“In 2018; some 432 children were killed and maimed; 180 others abducted while 43 girls sexually abused in the war-torn region,” he said.

He also emphasized that the figure were only the number of verified cases, meaning that the actual figures could even be higher.

“Over 100 of the abducted Chibok school girls remain missing. The anniversary of the abduction marked on April 14, is a grim reminder of the widespread abductions of children and grave violations of children’s rights continue to take place in the northeast.

“Children should feel safe at home, in schools and on their playgrounds at all times,” Fall mentioned.

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According to the records of UNICEF, since 2012, terrorist groups had recruited and used children as fighters and non-figthers.

These terrorist groups have also committed grave violations against children such as rape, impregnating them and forcing the girls into marriage. The helpless girls also go into labor and birth without needed medical care.

The UN children’s agency has called on all concerned citizens to put an end to all forms of violations against children, as well as targeting community infrastructure such as schools.

“This is the only way we can begin to make lasting improvements in the lives of children in this devastated part of Nigeria.

“UNICEF continues to offer its support to the Government of Nigeria in its strong efforts to protect the country’s children. UNICEF works with the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and other partners to support children who have been rescued or escaped from captivity,” the agency said.

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