Bamako, Mali — THE killing of 17 children, and possibly more, during separate attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger highlights the deadly risks children face in the Sahel region.
The minors are among dozens of people killed in three attacks by suspected Islamists in the first week of 2021.
"In at least two of these attacks, children were reportedly killed," lamented Amavi Akpamagbo, Country Director for Save the Children in Mali.
Akpamagbo said even if children were not directly harmed by the violence, they were losing their parents, family members and their teachers.
"They (children) are driven from their homes and schools; they have to leave friends behind. All these things have a deep and possibly long lasting impact on children."
Save the Children reminded governments and armed groups in the Sahel of their obligation to ensure that children, their families and communities were properly protected from this ongoing threat.
"As well as being forgotten among victims at times, children do not always benefit from adequate psychosocial support to enable them to continue a normal life in their communities," Akpamagbo said.
The Sahel part of Africa includes parts of Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and South Sudan.