Alwaght- The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, estimated on Thursday that Boko Haram terrorist group has abducted some 1,000 Nigerian children since 2013.
The UN children’s agency Nigeria head Mohamed Malick Fall has warned that “Children in northeastern Nigeria continue to come under attack at a shocking scale,” stating that “UNICEF is appealing for an end to attacks on schools and all grave violations of children’s rights.”
He also called for the release of those still held in captivity.
UNICIF, in September 2017 announced that 2,295 teachers lost their lives and 19,000 people were displaced in the Northeastern Nigeria since the Boko Haram insurgency started in 2009.
“Almost 1,400 schools have been destroyed with the majority unable to open because of extensive damage or because they are in areas that remain unsafe. An estimated 3 million children are in need of emergency education support,” the statement red.
The ISIS-linked Boko Haram has been regularly kidnapping youngsters. In 2014, 276 schoolgirls were abducted from the town of Chibok, located in Nigeria’s northeast. The mass kidnapping triggered global condemnation and intense criticism of Nigerian officials in the country as well as an international “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign.
“Nigerian authorities have made a commitment to make schools safer and more resilient to attack, and UNICEF stands with them to implement the Safe Schools Declaration, by which Nigeria commits to protecting schools and universities from violence and military use during armed conflict,” Fall further said.
Most recently, more than 100 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the group in the town of Dapchi, which had previously been unaffected by the militancy. The girls were later released reportedly through quiet efforts by the government.
Four years since the Chibok abduction, however, some 100 of the schoolgirls are believed to remain in captivity. Nearly 60 of the abductees escaped soon after the incident and some others have since been released through mediation.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, a former general, came to power in 2015 on a platform of stamping out the Boko Haram militancy. Despite retaking swathes of territory from the group, though, the government has been unable to prevent attacks from continuing against both civilians and government targets.
Buhari plans to seek re-election in 2019.