The number of children used in “suicide” attacks in the Lake Chad conflict has surged to 27 in the first quarter of 2017, compared to nine over the same period last year, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a new report on Wednesday.

The increase reflects an alarming tactic by the insurgents: so far, 117 children have been used to carry out bomb attacks in public places across Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon since 2014.

Girls have been used in the vast majority of these attacks, the report said.

As a consequence, girls, boys and even infants have been viewed with increasing fear at markets and checkpoints.

Meanwhile, the report also highlights the challenges that local authorities face with children taken into administrative custody for questioning and screening, raising concerns about the prolonged periods of custody.

In 2016, almost 1,500 children were under administrative custody in the four countries. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh