Boys and girls abducted by Boko Haram, including Christian girls, have been forced to convert to Islam and coerced into marrying members of the group, along with other female abductees, a report by Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict noted yesterday.
Watchlist, an international network of human rights and humanitarian non-government organizations working to end violations against children in armed conflict, also accused the federal government and other international humanitarian bodies of being slow, fragmented and unable to meet the fast-growing needs of those affected by the conflict in terms of relief response to violations against children.
|Some of the girls abducted and forced to convert to Islam|
According to the report made available to LEADERSHIP Friday, the Boko Haram sect and the Civilian Joint Task Force (“Civilian JTF”) have subjected boys and girls to forced recruitment, detention, attacks at school, abductions, rape and other forms of sexual violence in the north-east of Nigeria.
|Four courageous girls who escaped Boko Haram|
|Dr Stephen Davis|
“The gravity and scale of these violations warrant urgent action from the Nigerian government, United Nations and other child protection actors,” it said.
Specifically, Watchlist said the major source of worry was the forced recruitment of children for spying and assistance during armed attacks by Boko Haram, and the Civilian JTF, a self-defence militia formed in mid-2013 in Borno State.