There has been a significant increase in the number of children used as human bombs by Boko Haram militants in north-east Nigeria, the United Nations says.
Unicef reports there have been 83 cases so far this year – four times as many as in the whole of last year.
55 were girls under the age of 15 and in one case the bomb was strapped to a baby being carried by a young girl.
Unicef says this tactic is an atrocity causing fear and suspicion of children released by the militants.
According to the UN children’s agency, 127 children have been used as bombers in north-east Nigeria since 2014.
The Islamist militants Boko Haram have regularly used children in its insurgency, abducting hundreds of schoolgirls, and forcibly recruiting boys as child soldiers.
Boko Haram was founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
It launched its military operations in 2009 and since then thousands have been killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls from a government school in Chibok area.
The militant group has since joined so-called Islamic State, and now calls itself IS’s “West African province”. The group seized a large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate.
However regional forces recaptured most of the territory last year.