More hideous news from the Boko Haram front.
About 500 children aged 11 and under are missing from a Nigerian town recaptured from militants, a former resident of Damasak has told the BBC.
A trader in the north-eastern town told Reuters news agency that Boko Haram fighters took the children with them when they fled.
The senator representing the north of Borno state, Maina Maaji Lawan, told the BBC’s Nigeria correspondent, Will Ross, that the case in Damasak was typical and many hundreds of children were missing.
He said: “The very young ones they give to madrassas [Islamic schools]… and male ones between 16 and 25, they conscript them and they indoctrinate them as supply channels for their horrible missions.”
Boko Haram caused international outrage in April 2014 after it abducted more than 200 girls from a boarding school in Chibok town in north-eastern Nigeria’s Borno state.
The group’s leader Abubakar Shekau has said the girls have been married off.
That’s another euphemism, like “fracas.” The girls have been enslaved. They’re not “married,” they’re enslaved. They’re not wives, they’re slaves. Kidnapping is not marriage.
Damasak businessman Malam Ali, whose brother is among those missing, told the BBC Hausa Service that young boys had been put in a madrassa by Boko Haram when they took over the town.
Following the recapture of the town, those boys had not been accounted for, he said.
Our correspondent says the conflict has torn many families apart.
So that’s life in Damasak right now.