Hundreds of civilians, most of them children, have been kidnapped and taken prisoner by Boko Haram militants. Reports from the field, confirmed by a Nigerian official, state that many children are being used as human shields by the Islamic extremist group.
Earlier this month, several hundred people were taken from their homes, following the militants retreating from the town of Damasak after Nigerian forces drove them out. Although the exact number of people taken cannot be confirmed, unofficial reports state that over 500 have been kidnapped. Boko Haram militants seized the town of Damasak and ransacked primary schools, rounding up children and teachers.
Military officials stated Damasak is mostly deserted as of now. After Nigerian soldiers took back the town, destruction had been brought and hundreds were taken as prisoners. The town had been held by months by Boko Haram, only to be re-captured after a joint military operation was launched by four African nations to drive out the Islamic extremists.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by Michael Fleshman – Flickr License