Geneva, – The United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) denounced today the increasing use of children by fundamentalist Sect Boko Haram, to carry out suicidal attacks in countries of the Chad Lake Basin.

According to the UNICEF report, Silent Shame: Bringing out the voices of children caught in the Lake Chad crisis, 27 children have been used to carry out bomb attacks in public places across Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon in the first quarter of this year. During the same period last year, the number was nine.

“In the first three months of this year, the number of children used in bomb attacks is nearly the same as the whole of last year � this is the worst possible use of children in conflict,” the UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier, said in a news release announcing the grim findings.

“These children are victims, not perpetrators. Forcing or deceiving them into committing such horrific acts is reprehensible.” Since 2014, 117 children more than 80% of them girls have been used in suicide attacks across the region. As a result of this distressing tactic, girls, boys and even infants have been viewed with increasing fear at markets and checkpoints, where they are thought to carry explosives.

The UNICEF report documents troubling accounts by children who were held in captivity by Boko Haram and narrates the deep suspicion they are met with when they return to their communities.

Last year, it reached more than 312,000 children with psychosocial support and reunited more than 800 children with their families in the four countries. It is also working with communities and families to fight stigma against survivors of sexual violence and to build a protective environment for former abducted children. (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency