Thousands of kids linked to Boko Haram released

from AHMED OBAFEMI in Maiduguri, Nigeria
MAIDUGURI, (CAJ News) – THE Nigerian Army has released some 2 000 children suspected to be members of the Boko Haram terror group.

The latest batch of 183 minors arrested during anti-terror operations has been released to the Borno State Government and the United Nations (UN) for rehabilitation and reintegration to society.

Their release follows a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the federal government and the UN, which was signed in the Borno capital, Maiduguri, on Monday.

Major General Rogers Nicholas, Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole (Peace by Force), said the children had been handed over after thorough and vigorous screening and interrogation.

“They were found to be safe and fit to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society,” Nicholas said.

Mohammed Malik-Fall, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, said arrangements had been made to ensure the transfer or handing over of the children to their families was in accordance with the international standards, including psycho-social assessment and care.

This follows previous concern children released or escaped from armed groups faced stigma upon return to communities.

Humanitarian group, Mercy Corps, believes peer pressure and lure of business support are leading factors compelling mostly unemployed Nigerian youth to participate in the Boko Haram.

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports the Islamic sect has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in Nigeria since 2013.

Boko Haram is perpetrating a deadly insurgency to overthrow the government.

Its terror has spilled to Nigeria’s neighbouring countries.
– CAJ News

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