United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has decried the alleged killing of three children by Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Borno State.
The children who were playing on the Mblu Bridge in the Ngala area of the state were killed when the IED exploded in the area a few days ago.
Three other children are in critical conditions in a hospital in the area.
The UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, who reacted to the incident in a statement issued on Saturday by the agency’s Communications Officer, Folasade Adebayo, said the children’s death was another sad reminder that they remained direct and indirect targets of the protracted conflict in the North-East.
Hawkins said: “In 12 years of protracted conflict in the North-East, thousands of children in the region have been killed, maimed, abducted, displaced, and experienced multiple violations of their human rights. UNICEF is deeply worried that conflict-affected children continue to be casualties of war.
“First of all, we extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the families of the children killed in the unfortunate incident. No family should have to go through this and no child should fall victim to unexploded remnants of war while playing.
“Children are at risk of unexploded IEDs, which are small enough for them to pick up and kick around, or mistake for toys or objects of value. Such weapons account for over half of those killed or injured by landmines and other explosive remnants of war globally.
“These deaths are unacceptable. All sides to the ongoing conflict must protect children and prioritise their wellbeing at all times. Playing fields, schoolyards and communities must be safe and habitable for children.
“Children’s lives should not be at stake in a conflict they didn’t start. We must address the shrinking safe spaces for children and ensure that children especially, those already affected by conflict are protected and have a chance to survive and fulfill their potential.”