Nigeria has seen an increase in the use of young girls as suicide bombers.
The safety and well-being of children is at stake. Nigeria is witnessing a spurt in incidents of suicide attacks by women and girls.
Make no mistake, the attacks are planned, supervised and coordinated by the adult controllers who indoctrinate and train children for their mission.
In reality, children are the first and foremost victims – not perpetrators of the suicide attack.
The children selected to participate in the heinous suicide attacks may be kidnapped children or orphans displaced or separated from their families and thus vulnerable to all forms of exploitation.
Strangely the numbers of suicide attacks in the five months of 2015 is more than all the suicide attacks in 2014. As compared to 26 incidents of suicide attacks in 2014, 27 incidents have been recorded during the first five months of 2015.
According to Laurent Dutordoir, UNICEF child protection specialist in Abuja, Nigeria, the list included nine child suicide bombers aged between seven and 17 years all of whom are girls.
“At least 75 percent of the suicide attacks are carried out by women and children,” he said.
According to him the increased use of child suicide bombers could lead to children being perceived as potential threats.
This could not only put all children at a greater risk of being retaliation but also prevent their rehabilitation and reintegration in their communities.
UNICEF’s main concern is to reduce such vulnerabilities. To do so UNICEF staff are travelling in the field and working with local partners on ground to reach those children, in internally-displaced persons camps and informal settings.
UNICEF and partners are trying to identify unaccompanied children and to provide them remedial education and medical care. So far, over 35,000 children have received such psycho social support.