In Nigeria, it’s been almost five years since 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by armed separatists Boko Haram in the town of Chibok. Today, more than 100 of the abducted girls remain missing.
Those that have been rescued or escaped, have been receiving help from UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, which says that since 2013, more than 3,500 children have been recruited and used by non-state armed groups in the north-east of the country.
It has warned that these numbers are only those that have been verified, while the true figures are likely to be higher. In addition to these children, last year, 432 children were killed and maimed, 180 were abducted, and 43 girls were sexually abused in this conflict-wracked part of the Lake Chad region.
Ahead of the 14 April Chibok anniversary, UNICEF appealed to all parties to the on-going violence, to end violations against children and to stop targeting civilian infrastructure, including schools.
This is the only way to make lasting improvements in the lives of children in this devastated part of Nigeria, it said in a statement.