Boko Haram terrorist group has started recruiting child soldiers in a fresh strategy to replenish fighters killed in military counter-insurgency operations in the Lake Chad region.
The fresh recruitment exercise was adopted as part of their efforts to “resuscitate and replenish” their fighters in the border areas of Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria.
In a statement yesterday in N’Djamena, Chad, Spokesman of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), Col. Timothy Antigha, disclosed that, “the disturbing development was brought in by intelligence sources,” adding that it was recently corroborated by individuals and groups in insurgency affected countries.
He said the terrorists had posted the pictures of recruited new child soldiers dressed in military fatigue during the last Sallah celebrations.
He described the recruitment exercise as a brutal and inhuman tactics deployed by the terrorists.
He said the recent engagement of child soldiers to fight was as a result of frustrations caused by several operational losses, adding that leadership crises as well as disillusionment among fighters and their subsequent massive surrender to MNJTF led to the recruitment of child soldiers.
“The focus on children is because they are easier to manipulate and indoctrinate than the adults within the region who can now see through the veil of deceit,” he noted.
The MNJTF, therefore, urged parents, local authorities, religious and traditional institutions to be vigilant and promptly alert security agencies of any overt or covert attempts to recruit their children and wards.