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UK says Reuters report of Nigeria child killings is of ‘immense concern’

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A British government minister said on Tuesday that a Reuters report that the Nigerian Army killed children in its fight against insurgents was of “immense concern” and would be raised with Nigeria.

“It is a matter of immense concern,” Andrew Mitchell, Britain’s minister of state for development and Africa, said in parliament when asked about the report by a lawmaker.

Britain would raise the issue via its high commissioner in the Nigerian capital Abuja, Mitchell said.

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The Reuters report said children had been deliberately killed across northeast Nigeria, where the military has been fighting Islamist extremists for 13 years.

Nigerian military leaders have said the army never targeted children for killing. They also said the reporting in the Reuters story was an insult to Nigerians and part of a foreign effort to undermine the country’s fight against the insurgents.

The U.S. State Department said on Monday it was “deeply troubled” by the Reuters special report and had raised the allegations with the Nigerian government.

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