The degree of insurrection in Boko Haram, Nigeria has escalated to such an extent that the number of children fleeing in the past year has doubled at around 800,000, as girls and women were targeted for abduction and sexually assaulted by militants, as reported by the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Boko Haram’s imposition of Islamic law in Nigeria in the last six-year operation has driven around 1.5 million displaced people to bolt from their abodes to escape to neighboring Chad, Cameroon, and Niger according to Unicef, distending the host communities’ social service and health care facilities
“Countless numbers of children, women and men have been abducted, abused and forcibly recruited, and women and girls have been targeted for particularly horrific abuse, including sexual enslavement. Children have also become weapons, made to fight alongside armed groups and at times used as human bombs,” Unicef said.
Unicef has let loose its report, a day before the first anniversary of Boko Haram’s 200 schoolgirl abduction from the northeast town of Chibok, which had provoked an outcry from the international communities. Until now, a majority of the students are still missing.
Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader, has bragged on YouTube that the young women were converted to Islam and married off to his soldiers.
This year, Nigerian forces assisted by Chad and Niger troops, were able to recapture a territory from Boko Haram. The renewed offensive against the militants cause the delay of the national elections to six weeks. Before the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls, authorities had underestimated the scope of Boko Haram’s subversion, a spokesman by the government, Mike Omeri said last month.
President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari, an ex- military ruler beat President Goodluck Jonathan at the polls last month, forging steps to a peaceful transfer of democratic power since the 1960 independence from the U.K, has promised to stifle the Boko Haram rebels.
Unicef said, out of the $25.6 million needed for Nigerian humanitarian assistance, only 15 % has been received for 2015.
According to the report, “Insecurity and lack of funding are constraining Unicef’s ability to reach affected children. After peaceful elections, and as Nigeria enters the next phase of its history, it is crucial that the new authorities place the safety of children at the heart of the national agenda.”