BHT’s Girls suicide bombers not aware they’re carrying bombs — UN
***As Buhari urges support of religious leaders to rout them.
United Nation’s experts on counter terrorism have revealed that scores of the young girls Boko Haram sends out on suicide bombing missions in Nigeria and neighbouring countries were unaware that they will end up being blown up.
Boko Haram jihadists have in recent consistently used young women and girls as suicide bombers to attack soft targets in northeast Nigeria, northern Cameroon, Chad and Niger, resulting in several deaths and destruction.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari has urged religious leaders to support the Federal Government’s efforts at stripping Boko Haram of its religious pretensions saying the religious leaders’ collaboration with government would fully expose the group’s viciousness “as terrorists, devoid of any moral or philosophical direction”.
The President made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja when he received in audience the Ecuador’s new Ambassador to Nigeria, Leopoldo Rovayo Verdesoto.
Expatiating on the suicide bombers, Leila Zerrougui, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on children and armed conflict, revealed that in particular, the children used in this way were in many cases not aware of what they were about to do.
“Many of them don’t know that they will be blown up with remote devices,” she told reporters, pointing out many of the girls are as young as 11 or 12. I personally doubt that the children know”.
Noting that investigation has shown the bombs are remotely set off, Zerrougui said “That means it is not the person herself who did it”.
The UN lamented that the use of children as human bombs is one of the worst manifestations of an increasingly blatant disregard for the safety and security of minors in conflict situations around the world.
Elsewhere, thousands of youngsters are used as soldiers and children as young as four or five are being used as human shields on battlefields by armed groups like the Islamic State or the anti-Balaka in the Central African Republic, she said.
“This is the worst form where children are really put in danger and their bodies are really used as a weapon,” she insisted.
Recalling that since she was appointed to her position in 2012, she has each year decried an increasingly dire situation for children caught up in conflicts, “and every year it gets even worse” she said, 2015 was no exception.
“I can say that 2015 was really a difficult year for children all over the world where conflicts are ongoing,” she said.
The world is currently dealing with six major conflicts, including in Syria and Yemen, compared to one or two normally.
“We have thousands of children killed, maimed, schools attacked and children by the thousands recruited in many places,” she said.
“Children are not only affected, they are specifically targeted.”
On his part, President Buhari noted that so much ground has been covered in the attempt to properly expose Boko Haram members as “ruthless, destructive, and misguided terrorists’’.
“What we have succeeded in doing is to separate terrorism from religion.
“The initial attraction for recruitments was religion, but now people cannot relate with their relevance anymore and they are only associated with the destruction of lives and property.
“If your life does not mean anything to you, other peoples’ lives will not mean anything to you as well.
“And people are beginning to see that Boko Haram is just about destruction and nothing else’’.
The President also told the new ambassador that his administration would continue to prioritize diversification and other measures to help the Nigeria’s economy withstand the shock of falling oil prices.
Verdesoto was at the Presidential Villa to present his letter of credence to President Buhari.
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