The militant group Boko Haram has continued to recruit children and use them in battlefields across Nigeria, a military source told SaharaReporters.
The source said the recruitment of child soldiers by the sect was part of its new strategies following the recent mass surrender by their fighters to the military.
He said, “Let me give you a background of how they do it, (it applies to) any crisis in the world, it’s not only Boko Haram, I was in many countries for peacekeeping. So, when they enter a village, they will look at the younger ones because the older people can’t do anything. They are old, they can’t fight a war, so they will take the younger ones from age of nine up to fifteen and seventeen. They will start training and injecting them into the battle front.
“That’s how they do, they drug them, they put them into hardship, they give them Indian hemp, cocaine, it’s not really their fault. They promise these children protection, purpose, food and security in return for their services. That’s how they recruit because they are ruthless, they don’t care about their age.
“Parents should be careful, they (Boko Haram) don’t have age limits in their recruitment. They use them for various operations where they fit in. If you see a small Boko Haram boy, you won’t know but he is well trained. Those are the ones the United Nation are shouting about.”
Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, had in 2020 raised an alarm that the group was recruiting children in the state.
Zulum said the ugly new trend was a direct fallout of unemployment and the continued stay of able-bodied people in Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps.
He had said, “The only solution we have now is to ensure the safe return of our people to their homes in a dignified manner. If nothing is done, believe me sincerely, we shall face a very serious challenge even more than what we are facing now.
“This is because right now the insurgents are recruiting many of our children into the sect because of the increasing unemployment rate.”
Boko Haram and its offshoot, Islamic State West Africa Province, have killed thousands and displaced millions in North-Eastern Nigeria.
The terror group wants an Islamic caliphate in the region.