Africa’s ISIS branch, known as Boko Haram, has forced more than 2,000 schools to shut their doors and deprived 1 million kids of an education. Nigeria is the most affected by this crisis but so are Niger, Cameroon, and Chad.
Boko Haram is infamous for having massacred a Nigeria village of 2,000 people in January as well as having kidnapped 276 girls in 2014. The latter incident prompted the Twitter hashtag #bringbackourgirls.
The terrorist group officially joined ISIS’ network of terror organizations in March. The name Boko Haram translates to either “Western education is a sin” or “unclean book.”
Given the organization’s name, it should not be all that surprising that the ISIS affiliate wants to deny as many children as it can of receiving a non-Islamic education. Boko Haram has caused 17,000 deaths and the displacement of 2 million people.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has given the country’s military until the end of the year to defeat the Islamist terrorist group. While a great deal of progress has been made in fighting the terrorists, Boko Haram still control a large amount of land so the deadline will probably be extended.
Much of Boko Haram’s resources have been focused on intimidating and attacking people associated with Nigeria’s education sector. According to UNICEF, the United Nations’ policy organization for children’s rights, the increasing lack of education for young people is dangerous since these kids are susceptible to being recruited by Boko Haram.
According to Manuel Fontaine who leads UNICEF’s West and Central African operations who spoke with The Guardian, “The longer they stay out of school, the greater the risks of being abused, abducted and recruited by armed groups.”