Militia frees nearly 900 children used in war on Boko Haram
SEE ALSO :Why safe drinking water is so scarce"Children of northeast 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." The militia group had committed in September 2017 to ending their use of children in the conflict. Last October, 833 were released by the group. It is not clear how many children in total have been drawn into Nigerian armed groups, including Boko Haram, or how they have been recruited. Videos seen by Reuters show child soldiers rescued from Boko Haram demonstrating to Nigerian troops how they were trained to fight and shoot rifles. Nigeria's war against two jihadist groups, Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province, has left more than 30,000 people dead and displaced millions more, with the Islamist insurgencies showing little sign of ending. Residents of northeast Nigeria formed the militia, called the Civilian Joint Task Force, to help take on Boko Haram, which arose from the same communities. Some credit the militia with making early headway against Boko Haram in urban areas, using its local knowledge to identify people affiliated with the militants, although also drawing allegations that it sometimes used its power to settle scores in localised feuds. UNICEF's work in northeast Nigeria has at time angered authorities. In December, the military briefly suspended the agency's work amid allegations that UNICEF staff spied on behalf of militants in the restive region. The northeast of Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and biggest energy producer, is rife with abuses on both sides of the conflict - from the recruitment of children to extrajudicial killings and rapes, according to human rights groups.
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