On Tuesday, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that children have been increasingly used as “human bombs” in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram, with the number for 2017 already being four-times are many used during all of 2016. A UNICEF representative said that 83 children have been forced to go on suicide missions by the militant group this year alone, with 55 of the children being girls under the age of 15 and 27 being young boys. Alarmingly, there was even an instance of an infant being strapped to a young girl and used as a bomb.
Young children such as these are meant to catch bystanders unaware, as young children are typically seen as harmless. Unfortunately, it seems that Boko Haram’s tactics have worked: the frequency of successful suicide attacks has increased dramatically in recent weeks, and with it, the number of casualties. 170 civilians have become the victims of suicide attacks in northern Nigeria since only 1 June of this year. As a result, communities have come to fear the children who have escaped from Boko Haram, going as far as ostracizing them and leaving them in the hands of authorities.
In an effort to effectively rid the country of the group, the Nigerian government has announced it is seeking to build an alliance with Russia to help combat Boko Haram. The Nigerian Defence Foreign Minister, Dan-Ali, met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Shoigu on 22 August and discussed counterterrorism cooperation. The Nigerian government has sought to eliminate Boko Haram from its borders in the past, even claiming it had done so last year, but the militant group remains dishearteningly resilient.
(c) 2017 RtoP Weekly