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Nigeria’s Boko Haram has abducted more than 1,000 children since 2013: U.N.

82 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram reunited with families

ABUJA, Nigeria– A  UN report has revealed that Islamist fighters from Nigeria’s terrorist group Boko Haram have abducted more than 1,000 children in the northeast since 2013, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said on Friday.

The report says the insurgents regularly took youngsters to spread fear and show power, according to the agency on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, a case that triggered global outrage.

Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF’s chief in Nigeria said, “Children in northeastern Nigeria continue to come under attack on a shocking scale.”

UNICEF said it had documented more than 1,000 verified cases, the first time it had published an estimated tally.  Adding, the actual number could be much larger.

The report said UNICEF had interviewed one young woman, Khadija, who is now 17.  She was abducted after a Boko Haram attack on her town, then locked up in a room, forced to marry one of the fighters and repeatedly raped.

The report says Khadija became pregnant and “now lives with her young son in an IDP (internally displaced persons) camp, where she has struggled to integrate with the other women due to language barriers and the stigma of being a ‘Boko Haram wife’,” UNICEF said.

Since Boko Haram’s evil began, at least 2,295 teachers have been killed and more than 1,400 schools have been destroyed in the conflict, according to the report.

In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari assumed state power on promises to end the insurgency. However, his administration has repeatedly failed to defeat Boko Haram, despite pushing the militants out of many towns in the northeast by 2016.

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Dave Okonjie

Dave Okonjie is a public affairs analyst, researcher and senior issues correspondent.
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