A UNICEF report has revealed that Boko Haram has used 83 children as suicide bombs in 2017.
The report also revealed that there has been a four-fold increase in the use of weaponized children to create civil unrest in Nigeria over the last eight years. Out of the 83 children who were used as human bombs, a majority of them were girls. Human bombs are used by the Islamist terrorist group to create fear among the population.
UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado said,
There is an extraordinary level of tension obviously in these communities and… people are afraid of children who have been victimized in this absolutely appalling way. There are instances of children being ostracized by their communities and worse. Terrible things are happening to children after already horrific things have happened to them.
Out of the total suicide bomb attacks, 55 used girls while 27 used boys. Girls as young as 15 were used, and, in one case, a baby strapped to a young girl was used to ferry the bomb.
The militants have been using children to carry out attacks in crowded spaces like markets, mosques, and camps in Northeast Nigeria and around the Chad Lake region. The militancy is now in its eighth year and has already displaced more than 2 million people and killed around 20,000.
Children were also used as militants and suicide bombers in the Rwandan Genocide during the 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July 1994.