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Over 50% of schools in Nigeria's Borno state still closed, UNICEF worried


Over 50% of schools have still not re-opened in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State, a region plagued by the Boko Haram insurgents, a Nigerian jihadist group whose name means “Western education is a sin,” UNICEF said on Friday.

A statement released by the United Nations Children’s Agency said the crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency means that more than 57% of schools in Borno, the epicenter of the conflict, are still closed, even in this new school year.

“Since 2009, in northeastern Nigeria, more than 2,295 teachers have been killed and nearly 1,400 schools have been destroyed,” Unicef ​​said. The agency added that the schools were not able to open because the damage was too great or “in most cases, they are in areas that are still too dangerous”.

The UN estimates that 1 million children have had to leave their homes because of the conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian army.

The jihadist group used nearly 100 children or adolescents in 2017 as conduits to commit suicide attacks. Children also suffer from malnutrition and are the first victims of cholera that are proliferating in IDP camps.

Justin Forsyth, Deputy Director General of UNICEF, who visited Banki, a town on the border with Cameroon, the town has recorded 2,800 cases of acute malnutrition. “It is not out of control, but the level is still very high, even higher I think in Maiduguri, the capital of the State of Borno,” he told AFP.

Last weekend, thousands of displaced people who are currently housed in a camp outside Maiduguri protested against their living conditions and have asked the authorities to return home.

Ten of them are still in detention for “disturbing public order”, pending trial next month. Forsyth acknowledged that the “security situation is not stable enough for them to return home.”

The Nigerian army insists it has put an end to the jihadist insurgency, but the group continues to carry out attacks on villages, including food supplies, making the return of displaced people very difficult.

On Wednesday, three people were killed and entire villages (more than 1,500 homes) were burned in a raid by Boko Haram in the Guzamala district.

The conflict has caused at least 20,000 deaths and more than 2.6 million displaced since 2009.

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