Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Turning children into bombs

One in every five "suicide bombers" used by Boko Haram in the past two years has been a child, a report by UNICEF says.

"The use of children, especially girls, as so-called suicide bombers has become a defining and alarming feature of this conflict," Laurent Duvillier, regional spokesman for UNICEF said. "It's basically turning the children against their own communities by strapping bombs around their bodies."

Boko Haram child "suicide bombings" have surged ten-fold in West Africa in the last year, with children as young as eight, mostly girls, detonating bombs in schools and markets. Suicide bombings have spread beyond Nigeria's borders, with an increasing number of deadly attacks carried out by children with explosives hidden under their clothes or in baskets. Some young children probably did not know they were carrying explosives, which are often detonated remotely, Duvillier said. The tactic has proven effective in increasing the number of casualties as people do not usually see children as a threat.

There were 44 child "suicide bombings" in West Africa last year, up from four in 2014, UNICEF said, mostly in Cameroon and Nigeria. Three-quarters of the "suicide bombers" have been girls. Abducted boys are forced to attack their own families to demonstrate their loyalty to Boko Haram.

Almost one million Nigerian children are missing out on education as Boko Haram has destroyed more than 900 schools and killed more than 600 teachers, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.
"Boko Haram is robbing an entire generation of children in northeast Nigeria of their education," Mausi Segun, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

No comments: