Child suicide bombings at all-time high

DORO GOWON, Nigeria — Boko Haram’s abuse of children as suicide bombers is at an all-time high in the Lake Chad region including northeast Nigeria and neighboring countries, UNICEF said Aug. 22.

The jihadists have murdered at least 83 children since January by strapping them with bombs before sending them into public gathering places and detonating the explosives.

About 55 of the victims were girls under the age of 15, as girls often become pregnant in captivity as rape victims. At least one girl was much younger than a teenager. The remaining 27 victims were boys.

“The use of children in this way is an atrocity,” UNICEF said in the report. “Children used as ‘human bombs’ are, above all, victims, not perpetrators.”

The numbers for less than eight months of 2017 are a drastic increase over the 30 killed as suicide bombers in all of 2016, UNICEF noted, as well as the 56 in 2015 and four in 2014. In UNICEF’s earlier report in April, Boko Haram had killed 27 children by using them as bombers. (BP)