ICC Note: According to UNICEF’s recent “Missing Childhoods” report, approximately 800,000 minors have been forced to leave their homes due to violence from Boko Haram in Nigeria. The report highlighted the capture of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls who are primarily Christian, most of whom are still missing. In addition to the 800,000 children, it is reported that over 1.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to Boko Haram since 2009.
By Cassandra Vinograd
04/13/2015 Nigeria (NBC News) – Around 800,000 children have been forced to flee Boko Haram’s campaign of violence in Nigeria, according to a new United Nations report published Monday.
UNICEF’s “Missing Childhoods” report was released on the eve of the anniversary of the mass abduction of 276 schoolgirls from the rural town of Chibok which captivated the world. Most of those girls remain in captivity, scores more of their peers have since gone missing, and the number of children forced from their homes by the violence has more than doubled in less than a year, according to the report.
“The abduction of more than 200 girls in Chibok is only one of endless tragedies being replicated on an epic scale across Nigeria,” Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s regional director for West and Central Africa, said in a statement.
Many children forced to flee have been separated from their parents, according to UNICEF. The organization found nearly 2,400 separated and unaccompanied children when it surveyed 150,000 displaced persons in 33 locations in Nigeria.
“Many have had to run for their lives and walk for days to reach safety,” the report said. “Others have been exposed to extreme violence and abuse.”
More than 1.5 million people have fled their homes due to Boko Haram-related violence — and at least 15,000 people have died since 2009, when Boko Haram stepped up its campaign of terror.
Many children have been displaced “not just once but several times,” UNICEF’s spokesman for West and Central Africa, Laurent Duvillier, told NBC News.
“They are literally being hunted by Boko Haram, village after village,” he added. “They’ve seen with their own eyes sometimes their parents killed, sometimes their brothers and their sisters abducted… Many of these children cannot sleep, speak or eat normally because they are so affected by what they’ve seen.”