Though Nepal signed a peace pact four years ago to end a decade of armed insurgency, children remain in the firing line, with at least 60 killed and maimed last year while dozens faced sexual attacks, abduction and forced participation in violent activities, the UN said. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tabled a new report on Nepal before the Security Council late Friday painting a grim picture of children in Nepal, caught between the major parties and mushrooming armed groups in the south of the country along the border with India. There were 64 cases of killing and maiming of children, with the majority of deaths due to improvised explosive devices. While the youngest victim was five years old, the oldest was 14. These attacks were mostly led by Terai-based armed groups while one child was killed by the Armed Police Force. UN monitors also recorded two cases of sexual violence with policemen being the alleged perpetrators. Three policemen in Dharan allegedly attempted to rape a 14-year-old in Sunsari while a policeman allegedly tried to rape a 13-year-old in Surkhet district. Nepal's most talked-about child killing in 2004 by the army still remains unpunished. In 2004, soldiers tortured to death a 15-year-old schoolgirl, Maina Sunuwar. Though the court ordered the army to suspend an alleged perpetrator, the army refused and instead sent him on a UN peacekeeping mission in Africa. Last year, the ensuing media outcry forced the UN to send the tainted soldier back to Nepal. "The increasing tendency of political parties and their sister organizations to impose strikes and carry out other types of protest for political and other purposes has had a negative impact on children's rights to education," Ban said. "(There were) 120 separate instances of school closures...(and) approximately 80 cumulative school days were lost in 2009." Ban says the youth wings of the Maoists, the ruling parties and the Terai armed groups have continued to use children for conducting protests, demonstrations, extortion and violent activities. A little ray of hope was the discharge of nearly 3,000 child soldiers in the Maoist People's Liberation Army. However, the UN is concerned that they could be inducted into groups engaged in violence. The Terai remains inimical to children with public security an issue of serious concern despite a new special security plan announced by the government. The UNICEF assessed nine Terai districts to report that violence and lawlessness had negatively impacted education and increased the school dropout rate. Children were being used by armed groups as messengers and even cross-border smuggling. They were either threatened or lured by money. "Some armed groups provide economic incentives to children's families for their initial involvement and children are paid on a case-by-case basis according to the nature of their involvement," the report said. The continuing use of children in political violence also remains a concern. Monitors observed large numbers of children participating in protest rallies and demonstrations organized by the political parties, particularly the Maoists and their sister organizations.