The activities of terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, ISIS and Al-Qaeda have resulted in the shut down of over 9,000 schools in Nigeria and other African countries, the United States has revealed.
Commander of the US Special Operations Command, Africa, Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson made the disclosure in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday.
He warned in his submission that the agenda of the terrorists is to shut down the conventional educational system across the regions in which they operate and replace such with their own radical ideologies.
Naija News recalls that some of the attacks on schools carried out by terrorists in Nigeria include the 2018 attack on the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State in which over 100 girls were kidnapped.
One of the girls, Leah Sharibu still remains in their captivity as she wasn’t released along with others when their captors released them because she allegedly refused to denounce her Christian faith.
Similarly is the kidnap of over 270 Chibok schoolgirls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.
This has led to the closedown of schools in the area over fears of further attacks while residents of the affected areas have also had their economic and other normal activities disrupted.
The terrorists have also killed many residents of the communities they have attacked and escaped with their animals and other belongings.
Speaking during a virtual media briefing, Maj. Gen. Anderson, noted that the terrorists are expanding their operations and warned that the government must take action to curb them.
Anderson 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.”
It will be recalled that Naija News earlier reported that America has sent a warning to the Nigerian government in which it noted that the Al-Qaeda terrorist group is planning an invasion of the North-Eastern state of Borno and the entire North-West region.