UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 14 (Xinhua/GNA) - There has been a sharp increase in grave violations committed against children in 2019 in Mali, particularly in killing and maiming, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has warned.
Preliminary data recorded by the United Nations showed that more than 150 children were killed in conflict-related violence in Mali in the first half of 2019, compared with 77 in all of 2018.
Meanwhile, 75 were injured in violent attacks, compared with 24 during the same period last year. The injuries include gunshot wounds, burns and fractures.
According to a report of UNICEF, the recruitment and use of children in armed groups has doubled, with 99 cases in 2019 against 47 over the same period in 2018.
UNICEF said that these numbers showed the impact of longstanding insecurity in the north of the country and the dramatic deterioration in the center, as well as border areas with Niger and Burkina Faso.
"As violence continues to spread in Mali, children are more and more at risk of death, maiming, and recruitment into armed groups," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
"All parties must stop attacks on children and take all necessary measures to keep them out of harm's way, in line with international human rights and humanitarian law."
Over 377,000 children are estimated to be currently in need of protection assistance in Mali, the report said.