18 Sep 2015
More than 1.4 million children are said to be “on the run” in and around north-east Nigeria after a sharp rise in attacks by armed extremists, the UN said on Friday.
Terrorists of the Boko Haram group are blamed for the violence which has uprooted 500,000 children in the last five months alone.
Daniel Dickinson has more.
The latest violence linked to Boko Haram fighters in Nigeria has left a total of 1.4 million children “on the run”, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
In the north of the country alone, nearly 600,000 youngsters under five years old have been forced to flee their homes.
In neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, an additional 265,000 children have been uprooted by Boko Haram.
They’re fleeing violence that has seen the extremists abducting and killing women, and also using them to carry bombs.
Christophe Boulierac is a UNICEF spokesperson.
“These children are just separated from their families, they are usually exploited, abused, sexually, but not only…. We consider it’s a deep trauma. I think, children used as war, it’s really one of the highest levels of abuse.”
Despite the violence, which the Nigerian government has been battling since 2009, aid agencies have been able to increase the amount of help provided to families.
But UNICEF said additional aid is needed as families emerge from the end of the lean season, when resources are typically scarce.
To date the US$50.3 million relief programme remains only 32 per cent funded.
Daniel Dickinson, United Nations