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Nigeria reopens schools in Borno state amid Boko Haram threat

Schools in the state were shut down for more than a year due to the threat of Boko Haram violence.

By Fred Lambert
Nigeria reopens schools in Borno state amid Boko Haram threat
Children leave school to work in the fields on June 27, 2005, in the Akwa Ibom area of southern Nigeria. On Nov. 24, 2015, Nigeria reopened schools for the first time in more than a year in Borno state amid fears of attacks by terrorist group Boko Haram. Photo by Lorimer Images/ Shutterstock.com

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Nigeria reopened schools in Borno state for the first time in more than a year Tuesday despite fears of attack by terrorist group Boko Haram.

Xinhua news agency quoted Musa Kubo, commissioner for education in Borno state, as saying campus safety could be guaranteed.

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The Nigerian government urged parents to send their children back to classes, which were halted in March 2014 amid growing violence in Borno state, birthplace of Boko Haram.

Security forces have made recent gains against the terrorist group, in October unveiling a new task force specifically placed in Borno state, and earlier this month arresting multiple suspects from a 100 most-wanted list, including one in the state capital.

However, attacks have continued in Nigeria and neighboring countries. A suicide bomber in the Cameroonian village of Nigue killed at least 10 people Saturday morning, and similar attacks against crowded markets in northern Nigeria's Kano and Adamawa states earlier last week killed dozens.

Boko Haram, seeking the formation of an Islamic government, has since 2009 killed more than 17,000 people in a campaign of violence that included the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls from the village of Chibok, in Borno state.

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The Institute for Economics and Peace last week released a report tallying more than 7,000 people killed by Boko Haram in 2014, making it the "most deadly terrorist group in the world."

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who campaigned earlier this year on a promise to get tough on Boko Haram, set a December deadline to defeat the terrorist group.

"We are not there yet but we are gradually getting there," Xinhua quoted Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, chief of staff of the Nigerian army, as saying Tuesday. "We are making steady progress."

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