The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says Boko Haram recruited about 2,000 children in 2016 as child soldiers.
UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, disclosed this during a meeting of global leaders in Paris, on the anniversary of the Paris Commitments to end the use of children in conflict.
According to Lake, it was difficult to ascertain the number of children used and recruited, because of the unlawful nature of child recruitment.
“For instance, since 2013 an estimated 17,000 children have been recruited in South Sudan and up to 10,000 have been recruited in the Central African Republic (CAR).
“Similarly, nearly 2,000 children were recruited by Boko Haram, in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, last year alone, and there have been nearly 1,500 cases of child recruitment in Yemen since the conflict escalated in March 2015.
“We cannot give up the fight to end child recruitment,” the UNICEF chief said.
The Paris Agreement helps with the release of child soldiers and their reintegration.
“There has also been progress: since it was adopted, the number of countries endorsing the Paris commitments has nearly doubled from 58 countries in 2007 to 105 at present, signalling an increasing global commitment to end the use of children in conflict.
“Globally, more than 65,000 children have been released from armed forces and armed groups, including 20,000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Nearly 9,000 in the Central African Republic; and over 1,600 children in Chad. But more needs to be done,” the UNICEF chief said.
“It is also calling for increased resources to help reintegrate and educate children who have been released, and urgent action to protect internally displaced children, child refugees and migrants.
“As long as children are still affected by the fighting, we cannot give up the fight for the children,” Lake added.