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Militia frees hundreds of child soldiers in Nigeria


*Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), a local militia that helps the Nigerian security forces in the fight against insurgency in north-east Nigeria, has freed a total of 894 children, including 106 girls in Maiduguri, north-east Nigeria today. Says the report released by UNICEF

CJTF formed in 2013, with the aim of protecting communities from attack released the children as part of its commitment to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children.

“Children of north-east Nigeria have borne the brunt of this conflict. They have been used by armed groups in combatant and non-combatant roles and witnessed death, killing and violence. This participation in the conflict has had serious implications for their physical and emotional well-being.“ said Mohamed Fall, Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria and the Co-chair of United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Child Rights Violations (CTFMR).

The children and young people released today will benefit from reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life, seize new opportunities for their own development, and contribute to bringing lasting peace in Nigeria, as productive citizens of their country. Without this support, many of the children released from armed groups struggle to fit into civilian life, as most are not educated and have no vocational skills.

In the ongoing armed conflict in north-east Nigeria, more than 3,500 children were recruited and used by non-state armed groups between 2013 and 2017. Others have been abducted, maimed, raped and killed.

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