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The Devastating Impact of War on Nigerien Children

Increasing numbers of children are being killed or targeted for recruitment by armed groups in conflicts raging at Niger’s borders with Mali and Burkina Faso, Amnesty International said in a report published Monday. Amnesty blamed the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and the al-Qaida-affiliated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), for causing the “devastating impact on children” in the region. The rights group released a 57-page report documenting the impact on children of the conflict in Niger’s western Tillaberi, an area of 100,000 square kilometers (38,000 square miles) on the borders of Mali and Burkina Faso that is home to different ethnic groups such as Djerma, Fulani, Tuareg and Hausa. According to conflict tracking organization ACLED, cited by Amnesty, violence against civilians has led to 544 conflict-related deaths from January to July 23 this year, already exceeding the 397 people killed in the whole of 2020. Amnesty International said it had interviewed 119 people, including 22 children, three young adults between 18 and 20, and 36 parents for the study. Others interviewed included staff from NGOs and humanitarian agencies, United Nations officials and government officials.