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Nigeria: UN warns of ‘alarming’ spike in suicide attacks by women and girls

Nigeria: UN warns of ‘alarming’ spike in suicide attacks by women and girls

India Blooms News Service | | 27 May 2015, 08:57 am
New York, May 27 (IBNS): Northeast Nigeria has witnessed a sharp increase in suicide attacks involving women and girls this year, the United Nations children’s agency warned on Tuesday, calling on the country’s incoming Government make the safety and well-being of children a political priority.

“Children are not instigating these suicide attacks; they are used intentionally by adults in the most horrific way,” the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough said in a press release, stressing that “they are first and foremost victims – not perpetrators.”

Child suicide bombers not only include kidnapped children, but also involve those displaced and separated from families or those less protected, according to UNICEF. The numbers of attacks carried out so far this year have already surpassed the total number of such incidents in 2014.

“In 2014, there were 26 incidents of suicide attacks recorded but during the first five months of 2015, 27 incidents had been recorded (until mid-May),” said Laurent Dutordoir, UNICEF child protection specialist in Abuja, Nigeria, who briefed press in Geneva via telephone today.

He also noted that nine child suicide bombers, whose ages ranged between seven and 17 years, and whom are all girls, have been reported.

“At least 75 per cent of the suicide attacks were strongly indicated to have been carried out by women and children,” Dutordoir warned.

Concerned that the increased use of child suicide bombers could lead to children being perceived as potential threats, which could put all children involved with armed groups at greater risk of being retaliated against and prevented from rehabilitation and reintegration in their communities, UNICEF is ramping up its assistance to reduce such vulnerabilities.

“UNICEF staff are travelling into the field on a weekly basis,” said Dutordoir, adding that the staff also works “with local partners on the ground to reach those children, both in internally-displaced persons camps and in informal settings.”

Moreover, UNICEF and partners are working with the Government to identify unaccompanied children, provide remedial education and medical care. So far, over 35,000 children have received such psychosocial support.

UNICEF further calls on the Nigerian authorities to place the safety and well-being of all children, especially those affected by the crisis in the Northeast, at the centre of the political agenda, as the incoming President of Nigeria is expected to be sworn-in this week.

Photo: UNICEF/Sebastian Rich

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm