A new report from the UN’s children’s agency, Unicef, is warning of a surge in the use of children as suicide bombers by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) April 12, 2017
In the first three months of this year, 27 suicide attacks were carried out in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, all countries affected by the conflict.
Unicef says already this year there has been almost as many attacks by child suicide bombers compared to the whole of 2016.
Most of the bombers were girls targeting military checkpoints or public places.
Calling the children victims and not perpetrators, Unicef condemned the deception and force used by the militants to get them to carry out such horrific acts.
Under intense military pressure, the Islamist insurgents have switched tactics in recent years from holding territory to guerrilla style tactics.
Unicef says the militants have used more than 100 children as suicide bombers in the past three years.
The report describes how a 16-year-old girl called Amina was first drugged and then with three other girls sent to bomb a busy market.
In the end she didn’t detonate her own explosives. But Amina lost both her legs after two of the other girls blew themselves up.