672 Nigerian children lost to 2017 bombings —Report

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Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

No fewer than 672 children were killed or maimed in Nigeria during bomb explosions in 2017, particularly by the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East region of the country.

This figure was contained in a report released by a non-governmental organisation, Save the Children, noting that Nigeria was the fourth deadliest country with child casualties resulting from explosions, after Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.

The 24-page report talks about the impact of explosive weapons on children in conflict.

The organisation recommended in its report that countries should ensure cross-government protection of civilians which includes “up-to-date calibrations of battle damage estimates to take account of the unique vulnerabilities of children as well as child-specific measures to prevent harm.”

The report read in part, “Across five of the deadliest conflicts for children in 2017; Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria and Iraq, we can see that of the 7,364 children killed or maimed in conflict in 2017, at least 5,322 were linked to explosions.

“Armed conflicts around the world are exacting a devastating toll on children. In 2017, nearly a fifth of all children were living close to conflict – with 142 million children living near areas of intense fighting.

“In the world’s worst modern conflicts, children are exposed to explosive weapons – rockets, mortars, grenades, mines and improvised explosive devices.

“In Afghanistan, 2,216 were killed or maimed in explosions out of a total 3,179; In Yemen, 814 were killed out of a total 1,316, and Syria, 1,058 out of a total 1,271. In Nigeria, 672 children were killed out of a total 881 children, who represent 76 per cent.”

“Our key findings include; children are more likely to die following explosion injuries than adults. Two, children are overwhelmingly likely to experience head injuries which is a significant cause of death in young children.”

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