A report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund shows that the children of West and Central Africa are the most recruited by Jihadi groups in the world. The report shows that the Children trapped in conflicts are also the highest number of victims of juvenile sexual violence in the world.
For five years the region has seen conflicts in which more than 21,000 children have been recruited by government forces and Jihadi groups. In addition, more than 2,200 children in the region have been victims of sexual violence since 2016, says the report.
More than 3,500 children have been abducted, making it the region with the second-highest abductions in the world, said the report. Over the past five years, there has been an increase of over 50% in the total number of grave violations against Children who are recruited for war. One out of four serious violations against children globally, such as recruitment, abduction or rape was committed in West and Central Africa.
Violence in conflict-affected countries such as Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Congo and others has had devastating humanitarian consequences for children. More than 57 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance, a number that’s doubled since last year as a result of conflict and the virus.
Jihadist insurgency and internal conflicts in these countries has displaced some 3 million people and has killed thousands. A report by international aid and conflict experts reveal that Child recruitment by Jihadi groups in West Africa rose at least five-fold this year.
The U.N. is calling for parties to the conflict to prevent and end violations against children and for perpetrators to be held accountable. UNICEF says that it needs more than $92 million to protect children across West and Central Africa, more than half of which is not yet funded.