ABUJA-- The Nigerian Army has formally handed over 183 children linked with armed group in the northeastern part of the country to the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) for rehabilitation.
Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, said the handover Monday was in line with the international laws for the protection of children in conflict. He was represented at the ceremony by Major-General Rogers Nicholas, the theatre commander of Operation Lafiya Dole.
Some of the children -- 175 boys and eight girls -- were used as fighters and suicide bombers by the insurgents, said Gen Buratai.
The children will undergo comprehensive psychological support and rehabilitation to facilitate their re-integration into society.
Gen Buratai reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to end insurgency and ensure the protection of human rights.
Edward Kallon, the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator to Nigeria, said the UN welcomed the release of the 183 children suspected of ties with the Boko Haram Islamist militant group.
Kallon, represented by Ibrahim Cecee, noted that the release was the sequel to the clearance of the children, aged between seven and 18, of ties with the insurgents.
The 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. We will work with the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and partners to provide the children with all the assistance they need," said Kallon.
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 ongoing conflict."
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK