Over 1,000 children abducted by Boko Haram since 2013, U.N. report says

United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, says more than 1,000 children in the northeast region of Nigeria have been abducted by Boko Haram since 2013. The agency said the group used the tactics of abducting children to spread fear and show power.

“Children in northeastern Nigeria continue to come under attack at a shocking scale,” said Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF’s Nigeria head.

is the first time the agency is publishing an estimated tally but the actual number could be higher than the number of verified cases the agency documented.

The agency mentioned an interview it had with one of the victims of the insurgent group, a young woman now 17, named Khadija who had been abducted by Boko Haram following an attack on her town. It said she was forced to marry one of the fighters, locked in a room and repeatedly raped.

She became pregnant and “now lives with her young son in an Internally Displaced Persons camp, where she has struggled to integrate with the other women due to language barriers and the stigma of being a ‘Boko Haram wife’,” UNICEF said.

The Boko Haram conflict -which has led to the death of at least 2,295 teachers, with more than 1,400 schools destroyed- is in its tenth year with there being no sign it is likely to end anytime soon.

100 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi, were kidnapped by a faction of the group in February. Almost all of the captured girls were later released after about month following negotiations with the federal government. About five of the girls died while with their captors.

One of girls, Leah Sharibu, is still with her abductors because of her refusal to convert to Islam, her freed classmates said.

Four years ago, 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok were abducted by Boko Haram, a case which sparked global outrage. About 100 of the schoolgirls are still unaccounted for. Some may be dead, according to testimony from the rescued girls and Boko Haram experts.

A video released by Boko Haram in January, showed some girls, claiming to have been among the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, said they wish to remain with their captors.

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