Multi-National Joint Task Force, the military force fighting the Boko Haram in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, has said that information available to it confirms that most children used as fighters are captured through abduction.
The MNJTF Chief of Military Public Information, Col Timothy Antigha, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, noting that the military had, therefore, alerted parents and communities in the North-East of Nigeria to be more vigilant and report suspicious movements.
The military had on Thursday said in a release that Boko Haram had employed new strategies in their activities in the Lake Chad Basin through the “introduction of child soldiers.”
The MNJTF noted that the development was brought in by human intelligence sources and corroborated by concerned individuals and groups.
Meanwhile, the Boko Haram terrorists confirmed the act when in one of their videos, they posted pictures of three children dressed in military fatigue and held some assault rifles.
The MNJTF spokesman, Antigha, said most of the children were got through abduction and that parents must be wary of suspicious persons.
He said, “Information available suggests that most of the children are got through abduction. That is why the MNJTF has alerted parents and communities to be more vigilant and report suspicious persons loitering in their neighborhoods.”
The military spokesman, who quoted from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, said the involvement of children in armed conflict was an international crime and “armed groups distinct from armed forces of a country should not, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities anyone under 18.”
“The recruitment of child soldiers is the latest in a retinue of brutal and inhuman tactics deployed by Boko Haram since it began the futile attempt to cause mayhem and overthrow constitutional and social order. The focus on children is because they are easier to manipulate and indoctrinate than the adults within the region who can now see through the veil of deceit,” the military release partly read.
Meanwhile, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, on Saturday asked the people of the state to assist in providing credible information on the activities of criminals in their communities to relevant authorities.