Over 830 children released by Nigeria’s militia group fighting Boko Haram – UN

A militia group fighting against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria has released 833 children from its own ranks, some as young as 11, the UN children's agency UNICEF said on Friday. UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac said the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) was formed in 2013 by vigilante groups in Borno state to fight Boko Haram, which gained international notoriety for kidnapping schoolgirls in the town of Chibok. The CJTF signed an action plan in September 2017 to end child recruitment, and the release of the children, 40 percent of whom were 15 or younger, was its first formal release, Reuters said. “Many more children remain in the ranks of other armed groups in either combat or support roles,” UNICEF Nigeria Deputy Representative Pernille Ironside said in a statement. The released children were among 1,175 boys and 294 girls who had been identified as being associated with the CJTF in the city of Maiduguri.