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The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) says the Boko Haram terrorist group has introduced the use of child soldiers to resuscitate its declining influence in the Lake Chad Basin.
The Chief of Military Public Information for MNJTF, Timothy Antigha, said this in a statement issued from N’Djamena – Chad on Thursday.
Mr Antigha, a Nigerian army colonel, said the recruitment of child soldiers by the sect was part of their new strategies following the recent mass surrender by their fighters to the military.
He said the information was brought in by intelligence sources and corroborated by concerned individuals and groups a couple of days ago.
He added that the Boko-Haram terrorists further confirmed the development when they posted pictures of children dressed in military fatigue and holding assault rifles in a video released during the Sallah celebrations.
According to him, the recruitment of child soldiers is the latest in a retinue of brutal and inhuman tactics deployed by Boko Haram since it began the futile attempt to cause mayhem and overthrow constitutional and social order.
“Earlier, Boko Haram have engaged in the mass abduction of school girls, sexual enslavement of women and mass murder of innocent civilians.
“This recent employment of child soldiers is as a result of frustration caused by several operational losses, leadership crises, as well as disillusionment among fighters and their subsequent surrender in hundreds to the MNJTF.
“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.
MNJTF urges 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,” he said.
Mr Antigha advised youth to be mindful of promises of power and influence, economic prosperity and spiritual growth by the sect owing to the disillusionment and surrender that had depleted their ranks.
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