Children carried out Burkina Faso massacre reveals US Ambassador to UN


UNITED NATIONS – Most of the jihadists who carried out a massacre in Burkina Faso earlier this month were children, the US ambassador to the United Nations said Monday (28), calling for action against the use of child soldiers in warfare.

“Children will tell you stories that no child should be able to recount,” US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told a videoconference of heads of state on children and conflict.

“Of being conscripted at gunpoint. Of being raped. Of being forced to murder their own siblings, their own parents.

“These children are often no taller than the guns they actually carry. They are taught to commit war crimes before they even know how to count.”

On June 5, an armed group killed at least 132 people in overnight attacks on Solhan, a village in the impoverished Sahel region near the border with Mali and Niger — the deadliest attack since Islamist violence reached the West African country in 2015.

Local sources put the tally at 160 dead, including 20 children.

“That armed group? Mostly 12- to 14-year-olds,” Thomas-Greenfield told the conference.

“Children killing children,” she added.

Burkina Faso government spokesman Ousseni Tamboura had said last week that children were involved in the attack, but did not say they were the majority of the group. He said his information was based on information from suspects arrested prior to the massacre.

Thomas-Greenfield said the revelation was just one horrifying example of the use of child soldiers in conflict.

Estonia’s President Kersti Kaljulaid, who is the current president of the Security Council and initiated Monday’s session, also condemned the use of children in war.

She cited the example of a Central African child, Graciela, who was orphaned and abducted by an armed group in 2014.

Graciela “had to cook for the group, but also train to fight,” Kaljulaid said, adding that she had “hated” it — but nothing that she had eventually been able to start a new life.

In 2020, “the situation of children in armed conflict was marked by a sustained high number of grave violations,” she continued.

“Children are an easier target – for example, to be recruited by armed groups, or to be married off, abducted, raped,” she said.

The coronavirus pandemic has not helped.

According to the latest report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, more than 26,000 grave violations against children were recorded in 2020, a sharp increase from 2019.

In a statement on Monday , the United Nations announced that Guterres had appointed Kaljulaid as a ‘Global Advocate for Every Woman, Every Child’ for the next two years.

She is expected to mobilize the efforts of UN member countries in favor of women and children in the framework of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

– Agence France-Presse



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