NEW YORK, April 13 (UPI) -- Nigeria's eight-year war against Boko Haram insurgents has left one million children with little or no access to schools, Human Rights Watch said this week.
In an 86-page report released Tuesday, the New York-based advocacy organization noted that Boko Haram, whose grip on northeast Nigeria has been significantly lessened after a weeks-long counterinsurgency campaign by African coalition forces, has devastated Nigeria's rural educational systems.
Boko Haram brutality since 2009 has been responsible for the destruction of 910 schools and the closure of about 1,600 more; the deliberate murder of 910 teachers; and the fleeing of 19,000 more and the abduction of at least 2,000 civilians, many of them young female students.
"In its brutal crusade against western-style education, Boko Haram is robbing an entire generation of children in northeast Nigeria of their education," said Human Rights Watch researcher Mausi Segun. The report prominently features the abduction of 276 girls from the Chibok Government Secondary School on April 14, 2014, an incident that brought worldwide attention to the conflict in Nigeria. It states 219 remain captives two years later, and that "many have been forced to convert (to Islam) marry their captors."
It adds that Nigerian troops have used schools for military purposes, violating a federal law and opening schools to the risk of attack, and calls for the Nigerian government to commit to more school security and nationwide improvements in education.