United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) yesterday expressed disdain over the increasing use of children as human bombs in the North East.
In a press release to Journalists, UNICEF said Children especially young girls have been used repeatedly same way over the last few years and continued in the year 2017 as the number of children used is already four times higher than it was for all of last year.
It said, “Since 1 January 2017, 83 children have been used as ‘human bombs’; 55 were girls, most often under 15 years old; 27 were boys, and one was a baby strapped to a girl. The sex of the baby used in the explosion was impossible to determine. The use of children in this way is an atrocity.”
UNICEF also said, while the children are just victims, it is sad that the negative trend has created suspicion and fear of children who had either escaped or were released by the Boko Haram.
“As a result, many children who have managed to get away from captivity face rejection when they try to reintegrate into their communities, compounding their suffering
“Children used as ‘human bombs’ are, above all, victims, not perpetrators,” it added.
UNICEF further disclosed that, it is working towards helping the children back on the track by providing psychosocial support and working with community and religious leaders and influential partners to re-integrate into the society.
“UNICEF is providing psychosocial support for children who have been held by Boko Haram and is also working with families and communities to foster the acceptance of children when they return. This includes providing social and economic reintegration support to the children and their families.
“UNICEF also supports reconciliation activities in northeast Nigeria, led by respected community and religious leaders, including influential women, to help promote tolerance, acceptance and reintegration,” it said.