UN envoy for children to visit Nigeria's northeast‏

Leila Zerrougui will assess the situation of children affected by Boko Haram attacks

UN envoy for children to visit Nigeria's northeast‏
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
The UN secretary-general's special representative for children and conflicts, Leila Zerrougui, is scheduled to visit Nigeria's restive northeast, where insurgents have kidnapped numerous children and displaced millions of people.

"Zerrougui will visit Adamawa State," Geoffrey Njoku, a UNICEF spokesman in Nigeria, told The Anadolu Agency on Monday.

He declined to give details about the visit, however, citing security concerns.

The UN official arrived in Nigeria on Sunday for a weeklong visit, during which she will meet top government officials.

"She will pay courtesy calls tomorrow on the ministers of foreign affairs and defense; national security advisers; and the National Emergency Management Agency," said Njoku.

According to a UNICEF statement, Zerrougui is in Nigeria "to assess the situation of children affected by armed conflict in the country's northeast and engage with authorities and partners to improve their protection."

She is also expected to meet with NGO representatives, diplomats and the UN's country team.

Zerrougui's visit comes amid a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Nigeria's northeast, particularly after thousands of children and women were displaced from Baga, a fishing town that was recently captured by Boko Haram militants.

Nigeria's defense headquarters has confirmed the loss of 14 soldiers in the Baga attack, but could not provide a civilian death toll.

On Sunday, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Chidi Odinkalu said that over a thousand Nigerians fleeing the violence in Baga had been "stranded" on a Lake Chad Island, while another 10,000 had fled to neighboring Niger and Chad.

The Nigerian army says it is planning to retake Baga, stressing that it "has not conceded and will not concede" any part of the country to the insurgents.

For the last five years, Nigeria has battled a fierce Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the country's volatile northeastern region.

A seemingly emboldened Boko Haram recently stepped up its militant activity, seizing several areas of Nigeria's Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, where it has declared a self-styled "Islamic caliphate."

 

Last Mod: 12 Ocak 2015, 16:11
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