Children freed from Boko Haram captivity to undergo reintegration programme – UN
The United Nations says the 894 children released by the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in the North East Nigeria on Friday are to undergo reintegration programmes.
Mr Farhan Haq, a spokesman to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, made this known to newsmen in New York on Friday.
According to him, the programme will help the children to “return to civilian life and seize new opportunities for their own development”.
Earlier in the day, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that 894 children, including 106 girls, were released from the ranks of (CJTF).
The local militia group helps security forces in the fight against insurgency in the northeastern part of the country.
Although, it was formed in 2013 to protect communities from attacks, the group later engaged in the recruitment of hundreds of children.
UNICEF said between 2013 and 2017, more than 3,500 children were recruited and used by non-state armed groups in the conflict.
“Others have been abducted, maimed, raped or killed,” said Haq, citing the UNICEF report.
The agency said the release of the 894 was part of the CJTF’s “commitment to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children”.
In 2017, the group signed a promise to stop recruiting child soldiers and release the ones they hold, according to AFP.
The children freed on Friday bring the total released since then to 1,727 children, UNICEF said.
“Children of north-east Nigeria have borne the brunt of this conflict,” AFO quoted the head of UNICEF in Nigeria, Mohamed Fall as saying.
“They have been used by armed groups in combatant and non-combatant roles and witnessed death, killing and violence.”
“Any commitment for children that is matched with action is a step in the right direction for the protection of children’s rights, and must be recognised and encouraged,” Fall added.(NAN)