WASHINGTON-- The number of children that were used by the Boko Haram militant group in "suicide" attacks during the Lake Chad conflict has risen to 27, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a report.
Militants from the Boko Haram group have used at least 27 children to carry out the suicide attacks in the Lake Chad conflict during the first three months of this year, while the group used 30 children for the whole of 2016, according to the UNICEF report.
"The number of children used in 'suicide' attacks in the Lake Chad conflict has surged to 27 in the first quarter of 2017, compared to nine over the same period last year," the report "Silent Shame: Bringing out the voices of children caught in the Lake Chad," crisis stated.
UNICEF noted that since 2015 Boko Haram used 117 children in launching attack in public places across Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, including four in 2014, 56 in 2015, and 30 in 2016.
"Girls have been used in the vast majority of these attacks," the organization noted. "As a consequence, girls, boys and even infants have been viewed with increasing fear at markets and checkpoints, where they are thought to carry explosives."
UNICEF urged the sides of the conflict to end violations against children by Boko Haram, move children from a military to civilian environment, as well as provide care and protection for separated and unaccompanied children.
The ongoing crisis has displaced more than 1.3 million children, according to UNICEF.
The Boko Haram extremist group began large-scale attacks in northeastern Nigeria in 2009. Last year, the group expanded attacks into neighboring Niger, Cameroon and Chad. The extremist group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, outlawed in Russia and many other countries.
Source: Philippines News Agency