‘I Don’t See Them As Children’: Nigerian Army Murdered Thousands Of Children During War, Report Claims

(Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP) (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
Font Size:

Thousands of children have been murdered during the Nigerian Army’s war against the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, a report alleges.

More than 40 sources, including eyewitnesses, parents, and members of the Nigerian Army, told Reuters that thousands of children were murdered in mass killings during the 13-year Nigerian war because they “were assumed to be collaborating with militants in Boko Haram or its Islamic State offshoot.”

Witnesses told the outlet that they saw the Nigerian military kill children or saw their dead bodies after the military exercised action in the area. Kaka, a young man living in Kukawa in northeast Nigeria, said he saw soldiers stand “over a line of children face down in the dirt, wailing for their mothers” before they were shot to death and put in a mass grave near a watering hole, Reuters reported.

A mother of slain twin babies, Bukar, said soldiers killed her children after she and a group of other women and children escaped from the Islamic extremist group. “The soldiers said they killed those children because they are children of Boko Haram – they are not human beings,” Bukar told Reuters. “They threatened me that if I wasn’t careful and didn’t keep quiet, they would kill me as well.”

Nigerian Army Major General Christopher Musa denied reports its soldiers target children in their war against the Islamic State, claiming that these accusations are “part of a foreign effort” to sabotage the war. “It has never happened, it is not happening, it will not happen,” Musa, who heads the military campaign where the killings are allegedly taking place, said, according to Reuters. “It is not in our character. We are highly professional. We are human beings, and these are Nigerians that you have been talking about.”

A soldier in the Nigerian Army told Reuters he wouldn’t hesitate to end a child’s life because he believes they are all connected to insurgents who shot and killed his best friend. (RELATED: ‘Resisters Were Beaten’: Nigerian Military Reportedly Forced Thousands Of Raped Women To Abort Their Unborn Babies)

“I don’t see them as children, I see them as Boko Haram,” the soldier said, according to the outlet. “If I get my hands on them, I won’t shoot them, I will slit their throat.”