Civilian JTF Disengages 2, 203 Children from Child Soldiers in Borno

The Civilian JTF has disengaged over 2, 200 children for being enlisted as child soldiers in Borno state.

The disengagements are in compliance with the United Nations (UN) convention against child soldiers in the Northeast.

Civilian JTF Commander, Abati Isa, yesterday (Friday), in Maiduguri, disclosed this to mark this year’s International Day against the use of child soldiers.

 “The Borno State Government engaged us in 2013 to assist the military and other security agencies fight Boko Haram insurgency,” he said.

He applauded the State’s Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for their roles against child soldiers.

“We were listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s Report on Children and Armed Conflict in April 2016 for child recruitment and use,” he noted.

Besides, he further disclosed: “In September 2017, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting, in collaboration with UNICEF and other partners, signed an Action Plan with the CJTF to put an end to child recruitment and use.

He said that the CJTF, with the support of the CTFMR and the
State Ministry of Justice, took steps to end this practice.

Isa continued; “Significant progress has been made by the CJTF in implementing the
Action Plan,” he noted, stating that this include standing orders to all commanders and their
sectors to stop recruiting children and the separation of 2,203 children
from the group’s rank and file.

“The Secretary-General has also delisted the group from the annexes of the Secretary-Annual General’s Report on CAAC.”

He declared that no child is recruited or used for child soldiers in the ongoing counter-terrorism operations in the region.

He therefore called on all conflict parties to stop recruiting and using children.

In her brief remarks, the Head of UNICEF Maiduguri Field Office, Phoung Nguyen, said the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict violated national and international laws.

She noted that the protocol on the Rights of the Child, prohibits any forced
recruitment or conscription of children under 18 by any party.

“They are restricted to be used or recruited as child soldiers under the age of 18,” she said.

The State Commissioner of Women Affairs, Zuwaira Gambo, said the government has negotiated, released and reintegrated children formally associated with armed groups.

She said that the Government and its partners had a programme to ensure children’s protection from exploitation and re-recruitment; adding that; “there are strategies to protect children formerly associated with armed groups.

According to her, the children are protected from summary execution, detention, torture and other punitive measures in accordance to child rights.

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