The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) has commended the Nigeria Army for releasing about 600 women, children and elderly men from Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State.
In a statement today, Tuesday, UNICEF said: “the action of the Nigerian army today is a major step towards the protection of children affected by the ongoing crisis. It provides hope in a conflict that continues to have an enormous impact on people’s lives.
“These children were held under administrative custody on alleged association with Boko Haram militants. They are victims of the conflict and it is crucial that they receive medical care, psychosocial support and other basic services that will help them to regain their dignity.
“Once that process of recovery has started, we can help them to return to their families and to school or learn new skills that will give them some hope for the future.”
UNICEF said that it would continue to work with the relevant authorities to access children who are held for screening in order to safeguard their care and protection.
It said that when military screening is needed, children should only be held as a measure of last resort and for the shortest time possible in accordance with national and international standards.
“These children are – first and foremost – victims of the conflict and require support to recover from their experiences and reintegrate with their families and communities.” [myad]