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Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram’s use of child suicide bombers in Nigeria triples

The report notes that girls have been used in the majority of these attacks.

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Boko Haram on Aug. 14, 2016, released a video of the girls allegedly kidnapped from Chibok in April 2014, showing some who are still alive and claiming others died in airstrikes. VOA

Geneva, April 12, 2017: The number of children used by the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram as suicide bombers tripled during the first three months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, the Unicef said in a report on Wednesday.

From January to March, 27 children were used in suicide attacks by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, which is active in Lake Chad region, compared to nine cases in the first quarter of 2016, according to the Unicef report ‘Silent Shame: Bringing out the voices of children caught in the Lake Chad crisis’, the Efe news agency reported.

Unicef said the increase reflects “an alarming tactic” by the insurgents.

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“In the first three months of this year, the number of children used in bomb attacks is nearly the same as the whole of last year — this is the worst possible use of children in conflict,” said Unicef’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa Marie-Pierre Poirier.

According to the report, 117 children have been used in the last four years to carry out bomb attacks in public places, including Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria: four in 2014, 56 in 2015, 30 in 2016, and 27 in the first three months of 2017.

The report notes that girls have been used in the majority of these attacks.

As a consequence, in addition to the death and destruction caused by the suicide bombings, children have been perceived as a threat by society.

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“These children are victims, not perpetrators,” Poirier emphasised.

Unicef revealed that many children who managed to escape Boko Haram keep their experience secret as they fear being stigmatised, while others are often held in prolonged custody by authorities as they are suspected of having ties with the terrorist group.

In the wake of this crisis, the organisation urged that children taken into custody for suspected links to armed groups should be immediately handed over to civilian authorities for reintegration, psychosocial support and safe spaces, so that they can recover. (IANS)

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Hundreds of School Children in Nigeria Join Global Fight for Climate Action

To achieve this, she started planting trees around her school and neighborhood, and recycles used plastic bags into shower cap

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FILE - Nigerian youths gather to protest climate change and poor environmental practices, in Abuja, Nigeria, Sept. 20, 2019. VOA

Sixteen-year old Faithwins Iwuh — who is sometimes referred to as Nigeria’s Greta Thunberg — wants Nigeria to contribute to the global fight against climate change.

To achieve this, she started planting trees around her school and neighborhood, and recycles used plastic bags into shower caps.

Iwuh says she has been concerned about the effects of poor environmental practices for years.

“I started having this guilt anytime I see someone throw something out the window or I see people dispose wrongly,” she said. “I felt as if they were harming me and when I began to think about it, in a certain way they were harming me because it’s my future. If I do not take care of it now, I may not have a generation.”

School, Children, Nigeria
FILE – Protesters march to demand action on climate change, on the streets in Lagos, Nigeria, Sept. 20, 2019. VOA

An estimated 4 million students worldwide have taken part in the “Fridays for Future” movement, launched by Thunberg in Sweden in August 2018.

In recent months, hundreds of schoolchildren in NIgeria joined the movement. Two weeks ago, 300 students from 10 schools walked out of classes to protest in Abuja.

Fanny Nyalander, the Swedish ambassador to Nigeria, calls the action “inspiring.”

“I think it’s fantastic to see the young generation taking responsibilities and asking for climate action to be taken [seriously] — because it is their future and their future planet that is endangered,” she said. “So it is incredible and very inspiring to see that young people of Nigeria are standing up and asking for actions to be taken.”

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Iwuh, however, is concerned that awareness of environmental threats in Nigeria remains low.

“Not very many people know about this,” she said. “Only a handful know about this problem. I’m lucky to be one of the few that know about this and I’m trying my best to sell the idea to the world that it needs to save it from ending.”

Nigeria is the biggest importer of fossil fuel-powered generators in Africa, and therefore one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.

Environmental experts like David Michael say climate change has serious consequences in Nigeria.

School, Children, Nigeria
Sixteen-year old Faithwins Iwuh — who is sometimes referred to as Nigeria’s Greta Thunberg — wants Nigeria to contribute to the global fight against climate change. Pixabay

“Unfortunately, we in Africa contribute very little to the course of climate change, less than 3 percent, but we’re the most vulnerable continent,” he said. “And, of course, in Nigeria here the effects are everywhere — the desertification up north, sea rise down south, in the middle belt, the crisis between farmers and herders.”

At a summit last December, Nigeria was one of 195 countries and territories that agreed to take steps to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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In real-world politics, that pledge is more likely to be fulfilled if more schoolchildren like Iwuh demand immediate action toward that goal. (VOA)