(Abuja) – Boko Haram’s attacks on schools, students, and teachers in northeast Nigeria have had a devastating impact on education. The conflict has left nearly 1 million children with little or no access to school, and Nigeria’s security forces have contributed to the problem by using schools as military bases, putting children at further risk of attack from the Islamist armed group.
The 86-page report, “‘They Set the Classrooms on Fire’: Attacks on Education in Northeast Nigeria,” documents Boko Haram’s increasingly brutal assaults on schools, students, and teachers since 2009 in Borno, Yobe, and Kano states. Between 2009 and 2015, Boko Haram’s attacks destroyed more than 910 schools and forced at least 1,500 more to close. At least 611 teachers have been deliberately killed and another 19,000 forced to flee. The group has abducted more than 2,000 civilians, many of them women and girls, including large groups of students.
“In its brutal crusade against western-style education, Boko Haram is robbing an entire generation of children in northeast Nigeria of their education,” said Mausi Segun, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The government should urgently provide appropriate schooling for all children affected by the conflict.”
Boko Haram’s initial tactics of threats and intimidation to interfere with what it sees as Western education became more severe by early 2012, Human Rights Watch found. The insurgents began to destroy, burn, and pillage school buildings and property, claiming the attacks were in response to government forces’ attacks on Quranic schools.