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Nigeria’s Borno State Shuts Schools Over Fears of Islamist Raids

Nigeria’s northeastern state of
Borno has closed schools because of fears of attacks by the
Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which Amnesty International
said killed at least 170 students and teachers last year.

Schools closed on March 17, teachers and students said,
after a series of attacks in rural areas, including a school
massacre in neighboring Yobe state last month that drew
international condemnation. Boko Haram burned down more than 50
schools in the region in the past year, according to the
Education Ministry.

Staff and pupils “were requested to embark on holiday
following a directive from the State Ministry of Education,”
Hadiza Mohammed, a teacher at Moduganari primary school in
Maiduguri, the state capital, said by phone yesterday. “The
government does not wish to risk losing any students in the
rural areas.”

Boko Haram, which means “Western education is a sin” in
the Hausa language, is fighting to impose Islamic law in
Africa’s biggest oil producer. Attacks have continued after
President Goodluck Jonathan imposed emergency rule in Borno,
Yobe and Adamawa states last May.

“The closure of schools will have an adverse effect on the
education of my children, but what I believe is paramount is the
security of their lives,” Modu Nganzai, a 45-year-old father of
three, said by phone from Maiduguri.

The Borno state commissioner of education, Inuwa Kubo, and
commissioner of information, Inuwa Bwala, didn’t answer calls
seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Gbenga Akingbule in Maiduguri at
gakingbule@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Nasreen Seria at
nseria@bloomberg.net
Karl Maier, Michael Gunn

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