One in five suicide bombers used by terror group Boko Haram are children, with a large majority of them girls, according to a recent United Nations report.

There has been exponential growth since last year in the number of children being exploited by Boko Haram to carry out suicide attacks, the U.N. has discovered in a study.

The report has also found that despite increased military intervention against the terror group in the Lake Chad Basin area it continues to pose a serious threat to vulnerable and hungry children.

Founded in 2002 and formerly reported to have had links to Al Qaeda, Boko Haram swore allegiance to the Islamic State last year and has preyed on hungry children by providing them with food in return for loyalty to the terror group.

Particularly during lean season where an estimated 728,000 Nigerian children living in states such as Yobe and Borno are facing severe malnutrition, termed Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM), the exploitation of young children for a small amount of money or even a meal becomes too easy, according to the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Last month, The Foreign Desk reported that Boko Haram was giving its female abductees six different classes ranging from Quranic training to beheading and suicide bombing in order to maximize the number of victims in attacks.

In response to the terror group’s increased activities this year, military efforts by regional multi-national forces have pushed the militants back towards Niger and Nigeria’s border areas where there is almost no military presence.

The areas that have been liberated from the grips of Boko Haram will now require both humanitarian and developmental aid, as well as a long-term plan to establish rule of law and a sustainable government and society, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.

“Many women and girls in this region have experienced serious abuse and trauma, and will need government help to recover,” the Sec. Gen. added.