The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has decried the alarming surge in attacks and kidnappings of children in parts of Africa.
In a statement,the agency’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore indicated that the cases were higher in West and Central Africa.
UNICEF noted that the “non-state armed groups and parties to the conflict in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Niger and Nigeria will ramp up these violent activities over the coming weeks.”
The latest case involves unknown gunmen attacking Nigeria’s Bethel Baptist High School in Damishi town, Chikun local government area early Monday and abducting 140 students.
For Burkina Faso, Fore indicated that some 178 civilians were recently killed, among them children with over 1.2 million people displaced following violence.
The figure is ten times higher than it was three years ago.
For northwest and southwest Cameroon, the chief also said that abductions, killing of school children, teachers and civilians was also on the rise.Fore noted that such incidents are surging on the daily, sparking fears on the safety of children in Africa.
“Already in 2020, according to the latest report of the United Nations Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, 1 in 3 child victims of grave violations has been in West and Central Africa,” she said.
She has thus called for arrangements and agreements to ensure African children can live safely, carry out usual chores without fear of execution or abductions.
“The international community also has an important role to play. We need our donors to increase their contributions so that we can expand our work to reduce children’s vulnerabilities and increase their resilience to keep them safe from harm,” Fore said.