Around 800,000 children have been driven from their homes as a result of fighting between Nigerian forces and Boko Haram, according to a new UNICEF report. Its publication comes amid new reports of the brutality of the Islamist militants’ rule in areas under their control. The number of refugee children has doubled in the past year, making them about half of all the 1.5 million. The report’s publication came as the anniversary of the kidnapping by Boko Haram of more than 200 girls from the town of Chibok is remembered, an incident which drew international attention and outrage. The fate of the girls remains unknown.
In my opinion, Nigerian leaders and the international community have not done enough to help you. I am among many people pressuring them to make sure you are freed.
Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai
The report found that sexual attacks in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria were not incidental, but “integrally linked to strategic objectives, ideology and funding of extremist groups.” Boko Haram fighters have killed thousands of people in their six-year bid to create an Islamist caliphate in northeastern Nigeria. President-elect Muhammadu Buhari told Sky News that cracking down on Boko Haram and recovering the schoolgirls was his top priority. A number of ceremonies will be held in Nigeria and around the world to remember the missing teens.
Men and women, boys and girls, Christians and Muslims, have been killed, abducted and brutalised by Boko Haram during a reign of terror which has affected millions.
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general