Hundreds of children have been reported missing in a northeastern Nigerian town recently recaptured from Boko Haram militants.
Local sources in the town of Damasak in Borno state say about 500 children aged 11 and younger were taken by the Takfiri militants as they fled the area.
With the help of soldiers from Chad and Niger, Nigerian forces liberated the town earlier this month. Damasak had been under the control of militants for four months.
Officials in Borno state say the terrorists have been known to place young abducted children in schools under their supervision while males between the ages of 16 and 25 are trained and used to carry out the group’s heinous crimes.
Last week, 70 decomposing bodies, many decapitated, were found under a bridge near the town.
Damasak is located near the country’s border with Niger.
Last April, the militants abducted over 200 schoolgirls in Borno’s Chibok town, drawing global criticism.
The Takfiri group, which has been wreaking havoc in Nigeria for the past six years, recently pledged allegiance to the ISIL terrorists operating in Iraq and Syria.
Nigerian troops with the help of military forces from neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, have started a joint operation targeting the militant group. They say they have made major progress against the terrorists in the past weeks and have recaptured many towns held by the terrorists, bringing closer the end of the militants’ deadly campaign in the region.
The militancy has claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people in Nigeria. Some 1.5 million Nigerians have also been displaced with many of them escaping into neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.