UNICEF: 800,000 children forced from homes by Boko Haram suffer abuse and emotional distress

The children’s drawings show men with guns, a coffin, a car exploding. One picture has stick-like figures of eight siblings missed by their teenage sister.

LAGOS, Nigeria — The children’s drawings show men with guns, a coffin, a car exploding. One picture has stick-like figures of eight siblings missed by their teenage sister.

The disturbing images come from some of an estimated 800,000 children forced from the homes by Boko Haram extremists, according to a UNICEF report published Monday.

It says the number of refugee children has doubled in the past year, making them about half of all the 1.5 million Nigerians made homeless in the Islamic uprising.

“Children have become deliberate targets, often subjected to extreme violence – from sexual abuse and forced marriage to kidnappings and brutal killings,” the report says. “Children have also become weapons, made to fight alongside armed groups and at times used as human bombs.”

The number of children absent from primary school in Nigeria has increased from 8 million in 2007 to 10.5 million- the highest figure in the world, it says. Boko Haram has targeted schools, destroying or severely damaging more than 300 and killing 314 students and 196 teachers, UNICEF says.

The nickname of Nigeria’s home-grown Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram, means “Western education is forbidden” or sinful.

One picture in the UNICEF report shows stick figures of the eight siblings missed by Rita, a 14-year-old living in a refugee camp in neighbouring Chad with her mother, father and one younger sister. They became separated when Boko Haram attacked the Nigerian town of Baga, and she knows how worried they must be.

“When you have your mother around, you (are) not worried about anything. But if she is missing … you are worried the whole time,” the report quotes Rita as saying.

Called “Missing Childhoods,” the report was published ahead of the first anniversary of the mass kidnappings the night of April 14-15, 2014, of nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok. Dozens escaped on their own but 219 remain missing.

Just Posted

Rachel Notley is coming to Red Deer

Speaking at campaign office

Missing woman reported

Last seen in Red Deer

Allies of local LGBTQ community to speak at RDC on Tuesday

Red Deer College is starting a conversation about gender and sexual orientation… Continue reading

Case of Red Deer ex-teacher charged with child sex offences in court

Norman Joseph Howes accused of offences that occurred during 2018 Christmas break

RDSO goes to the movies for blockbuster concert Saturday at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre

‘Star Wars,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Star Trek’ music on the program

Canadian pair fifth after short program at figure skating worlds

SAITAMA, Japan — Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are fifth after… Continue reading

Director Kim Nguyen tackles financial ‘madness’ in ‘The Hummingbird Project’

TORONTO — As Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen tells it, “The Hummingbird Project”… Continue reading

What Disney gets as its $71.3B buy of Fox assets closes

It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Most Read