The United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, today released a report saying that since January 1, 2017 the Islamic terror group Boko Haram has used 83 children– most often under the age of 15– as human bombs, a four-fold increase over the previous year.
Boko Haram, which literally means “Western education is forbidden,” typically targets Christians, but also targets Muslims who oppose ISIS. Boko Haram is an ISIS affiliate that operates mostly in northeastern Nigeria but has operated in neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
UNICEF called the practice an “atrocity” and said, as a result, children who have been captured by Boko Haram face additional stigma, even if they escape captivity.
“The use of children in such attacks has had a further impact of creating suspicion and fear of children who have been released, rescued or escaped from Boko Haram,” said UNICEF in a prepared statement. “As a result, many children who have managed to get away from captivity face rejection when they try to reintegrate into their communities, compounding their suffering.”
This year UNICEF says of the bombers “55 were girls, most often under 15 years old; 27 were boys, and one was a baby strapped to a girl.”
A UNICEF report released in April of this year noted the uptick in the use of children as human bombs. As reported by NPR, in the first three months of 2017 UNICEF had recorded 27 such incidents.
“That shift is clear in the numbers,” reports NPR. “Four were used in suicide attacks in 2014, 56 in 2015, and 30 in 2016.”
In part,the increase is a sign of the desperation of Muslim terrorists. Boko Haram is good at spreading fear and terror, but not very good at commanding territory that they capture or governing well. So instead the group practices tactics that use children to multiply the terror. While long on fear, the tactic is very short on strategy.
“The [Boko Haram] insurgency has changed its tactics over the course of the conflict, from holding towns and territory to a guerrilla-style insurgency that uses hit and run attacks and improvised explosive devices,” UNICEF told NPR.
Boko Haram is most famous for the kidnapping of 276 from a local college in 2014. So far 195 of the girls remain missing. Some suspect that they were sold as sex slaves in neighboring countries, although the Nigerian government negotiated the release of more than 80 pf the girls.
Stand for Faith Staff
(Above) Facebook site that tracks the missing girls kidnapped by Boko Haram