UNITED NATIONS Civilian ‘army’ releases 830 children in Nigeria
MORE than 830 children had been released by a civilian joint task force (CJTF) in northern Nigeria, set up to help the army fight Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, United Nations children’s fund Unicef said yesterday.
It is the first formal release of children from the CJTF in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, since September last year, when the group formally committed to stopping child recruitment, according to Unicef.
However, Unicef Nigeria deputy representative Pernille Ironside warned that many more children remained in the ranks of the CJTF and other armed groups in either combat or support roles.
“We call on all parties to stop recruiting children and let children be children,” Ironside said.
Unicef had identified 1 469 children – among them 1175 boys and 294 girls – as being part of the CJTF in Maiduguri.
Since 2009, tens of thousands of people have died at the hands of the terrorists in the region and an estimated 2.59million people have fled their homes.
The goal of the group, which also launches offensives in neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon, is to enforce a strict interpretation of Islamic law, known as sharia. |
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