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UNICEF: Boko Haram recruited 2,000 child soldiers in 2016

UNICEF: Boko Haram recruited 2,000 child soldiers in 2016At least 2,000 child soldiers were recruited and used in combat by Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants in 2016 alone, UNICEF said on Tuesday as world leaders gathered in Paris for a conference on the protection of children in armed conflict.

UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, said the exact data on the number of children used in armed conflict was difficult to ascertain because of the unlawful nature of the exercise.

“For instance, since 2013 an estimated 17,000 children have been recruited in South Sudan and up to 10,000 have been recruited in the Central African Republic (CAR). Similarly, nearly 2,000 children were recruited by Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighbouring countries last year alone, and there have been nearly 1,500 cases of child recruitment in Yemen since the conflict escalated in March 2015," the UNICEF chief said.

“We cannot give up the fight to end child recruitment,” he added.

Lake said tat according to the estimates tens of thousands under the age of 18 were being used in conflicts worldwide.

“It is not only about looking back at what has been accomplished; but looking forward to the work that remains to be done to support the children of war,” he said.

The data were part of a report indicating that at least 65,000 children, worldwide, were released from military and armed groups in the past 10 years. Of those released from military servitude, more than 20,000 were in the Democratic Republic of Congo, nearly 9,000 in the Central African Republic and 1,600 in Chad.
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