In Mali, twice as many children have been killed in the first half of this year than in all of 2018, a new report by UN children’s agency Unicef has found.
It says that more than 150 were killed between January and the end of June.
Despite recent ceasefire deals between the government and armed groups, insecurity is deteriorating in the centre of the country. Most attacks in the area are believed to be perpetrated by armed militias.
Recruitment of children to armed groups has doubled in comparison to the same period last year, says Unicef, which warns that extreme violence causes debilitating, long-term trauma in young people.
The reports says other children were injured, displaced and separated from their families.
This data has not been corroborated by the government but authorities have been under growing pressure to appease tensions.
The UN’s independent human rights expert on Mali said in his last report that children’s rights violations were under-reported, and also voiced concern about a lack of protection for victims and witnesses.