The world was horrified when the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in 2014. But less coverage has been given to the kidnapping of more than 10,000 boys over the last three years by the terror group and their brutal coercion tactics, forcing children to wage jihad.
Shortly after the Chibok schoolgirls were seized, Boko Haram attacked six villages in the nearby mountains and rounded up children there, with little media coverage beyond the Nigerian press. A few months later, the group captured the town of Damasak, and took 300 students, mostly boys, age 7 to 17. The militants imprisoned them in a school. Their parents were held in separate rooms. For months, the children were forced to learn the Quran.
The boys were sent into battle, often unarmed, frequently numbed by drugs. Many of the boys were beaten and some died of starvation or thirst. The boys were told that it was ok to kill their friends and parents. Moreover the boys are being told that this is the behavior that will get them into heaven.