At least 8,000 children have been recruited by the Boko Haram terrorist movement across the Lake Chad region in Central Africa since it launched its violent campaign in 2009, the UN said in a statement on Monday.
Sylvester Tunde Atere, national project officer of the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), said in a statement that the children were used by the group in combatant and noncombatant roles.
"Recruitment and exploitation have a long-lasting impact on children’s lives," the statement said.
"Today, rehabilitating and reintegrating these children pose significant challenges, not only in view of their number, but also due to the intense and lasting traumatic effects," it added.
The UNODC accused Daesh-affiliated Boko Haram of raping or forcing teenage girls into marriage.