While West Africa and the Sahel region are seeing improvements in political conditions, the Boko Haram violence and human trafficking remain matters of grave concern, the United Nations envoy to the region said Thursday.
“Following a notable decline in Boko Haram attacks in the first half of the year, there has been an uptick in the number of incidents since September last year, with a peak of 143 civilian casualties alone in November 2017,” Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) told the Security Council.
The number of instances of children being used as suicide bombers has increased five-fold to some 135 cases in 2017.
The government has increased the public expenditure for improving security to 17 percent of 2018 from 15% last year.
He said criminal networks across West Africa and the Sahel are thriving with activities of human trafficking.
“Stemming human trafficking must continue to be a top priority in 2018 as recently underscored by Secretary-General Guterres,” he said.