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UNICEF applauds Nigeria Army for release of 23 children rescued from Boko Haram

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The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed the release of 23 children aged 12 to 17 rescued from Boko Haram custody by the Nigerian Army.

Geoffrey Njoku, Communication Specialist, UNICEF made the assertion in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Saturday.

The statement quoted the Nigeria Acting Representative of UNICEF, Pernille Ironside as saying that the release by the Nigeria Army brings the number of children rescued and released this year to 207.

“For these children, the long journey towards reuniting with their families, reintegrating with their communities and fulfilling their dreams starts today.

“We must support these children to fulfill their hopes and aspirations.

“UNICEF will continue to work with military and the authorities to support the reintegration of all children released, until there are no more children in administrative custody.”

Ironside said that UNICEF will also work with the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and partners to provide the children with medical attention and psychosocial support.

He said this support would begin the process of reuniting them with their families and reintegrating them into society.

He added that since 2017, UNICEF had supported the social and economic reintegration of more than 8,700 children previously associated with non-state actors in North-east Nigeria.

He said the organisation had also helped trace their families, returning them to their communities, and offering them psychosocial support, education, vocational training and informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve their livelihoods.

He, however, added that the resources available to support children affected by the conflict in north-east Nigeria were limited, with just under half of the required resources available.