by Ndidi Chukwu
UNICEF welcomes today the release of 183 children from Nigerian Armed Forces, in Maiduguri, Borno State, northeast Nigeria. The release comes after the children, aged 7-18, were cleared of ties with Boko Haram insurgents.
“These 8 girls and 175 boys are first and foremost victims of the ongoing conflict and their release is an important step on their long road to recovery,” said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. “We will be working with the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and partners to provide the children with all the assistance they need. I also want to commend the action taken by the military and the authorities, it demonstrates a clear commitment to better protect children affected by the conflict.”
After having been held in administrative custody, the children will receive medical attention and psychosocial support before the process of reuniting them with their families and reintegrating them into society begins.
Since 2017, UNICEF has supported the social and economic reintegration of more than 8,700 children released from armed groups, helping trace their families, returning them to their communities, and offering them psychosocial support, education, vocational training and informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve livelihoods.