Stop Using kids for Suicide Bombing - Unicef Tells Boko Haram
By Breaking & Follow-up News Reporter
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) on Saturday called on the unyielding Boko Haram insurgents to stop using children for their suicide bombing attacks.
The flagship UN body has also called on both the government forces and the Boko Haram to respect the international right laws that protect children.
UNICEF said it is becoming too worried with the increasing engagement of children in carrying out suicide attacks in recent times.
Country Rep of UNICEF, Muhammed Fall, said parties in the conflict, that is currently in its seventh year, need to show greater commitment towards protecting kids from all kinds of violation.
Boko Haram had carried out nearly 200 suicide bombings, using teenage girls since the beginning of 2017.
Mr Fall made this call when his organisation signed a tripartite Action Plan Agreement against recruitment of children with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and the Borno state government, in Maiduguri, the state capital.
“I will like to call on all the parties in the conflict; mainly the Boko Haram to immediately stop recruiting and using children; the use of children by Boko Haram as a human bomb is particularly disturbing and vulnerable", said Mr Fall.
“According to our reports within the last three years, 140 children and mostly girls and even babies are being used as human bombs in North-East Nigeria. I will like to remind everyone that recruitment and use of children is a war crime and a crime against humanity”.
He said many chidden were wasted by the forceful conscription to join Boko Haram. Hence they would not want the organised government forces to engage underaged kids in the war.
He reiterated that “the action plan agreement is an important milestone for child protection and it paves the way for a brighter future for children caught up in the conflict in the region".
Legal representative of CJTF, Jubril Gunda, said a five man committee had been set up by CJTF to "enhance implementation and compliance with the action plan agreement".
He noted that CJTF together with UNICEF, military and other security agencies would build the capacity of its members towards understanding the need human right practices to ensure protection of children.
He optimised that the CJTF would set up a child right protection desk, to promote respect of rights and rehabilitation of children affected by the conflict.
CJTF is a volunteer force that evolved in 2013 at the height of Boko Haram attacks within cities, to assist security forces in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency. Ample credit had been given to the unarmed group for the arrests and chasing out the Boko Haram from their hideouts within Maiduguri into the jungles.
They were later given recognition by the Borno state government which organised some training for them and armed them with light munitions, uniform and vehicles.
At least 600 young men who volunteered as CJTF and braved the heavily armed Boko Haram had been killed since 2013.