Insurgents shut 9,000 schools in Nigeria, other African nations – US military

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The United States Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) says 9,000 schools in Nigeria and other African nations have been shut by the activities of ISIS, al-Qaeda  Boko Haram and al-Shabaab in the last five years.

The Commander of SOCAFRICA, Maj.-Gen. Dagvin Anderson disclosed this during a virtual meeting with journalists on Tuesday.

According to him, the insurgents replaced the schools with theirs to teach their ideologies that are inimical to a free and open society.

Anderson noted that the insurgents were stealing the future of African children by closing the conventional schools.

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The US general said, , “We have seen the violent extremist organisations, these terrorists, take advantage of these conditions over the last five years especially.  Al-Qaeda has had a very deliberate campaign to exploit these seams and grievances and to expand their reach, especially into the west.

“We’ve seen that they’ve taken advantage of this also by closing schools, so they – they take away the future.  They eliminate that future by shutting down these schools: over 9,000 schools across Africa shut down; 3,000 in Mali and Burkina Faso.  That is very concerning to us because what does that mean for future development, for future opportunities for people that live in these regions?  And what does it mean as these violent extremist organizations then replace those schools with their ideology and their teachings, which we believe is antithetical to a free and open society and prosperity.

“And then what we’ve seen them do is they’ve expanded now in Mali, but now into northern Burkina Faso, where they attacked infrastructure, then they took out local governance and security forces, and now they are using that, their presence, to control the local economy and exert their control over the population.”

Recall that over 100 girls were abducted from a school in Dapchi, Yobe State by Boko Haram extremists in 2018. Although most of the girls were returned, some including Leah Sharibu have yet to be released.

Earlier, 270 girls were abducted from a school in Chibok, Borno State and many of them remain in captivity where they have been forced into becoming conscripts and wives of the insurgents.

Fear of the next attack have forced many schools in the troubled North-East to shut down, and many parents to keep their children away.

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