A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

In Nigeria, Schools Become a New Target for Islamic Extremists- NYTimes.com

In News on March 26, 2012 at 11:42

Wielding Fire, Islamists target Nigerian Schools

Boko Haran-  the group  with suspected Al Qaeda links- is waging a war against the Nigerian government

— “Boko” means “book” or “Western learning” in the Hausa language, and “haram” is Arabic for forbidden — but it has never gone after them to this degree before, analysts say.

 

We can’t stay at home any longer; we want to come to school, to learn,” explained Aruna, 16. “I’m fed up. I want to be in school.”

The insurgent violence stalking northern Nigeria has struck a long list of official targets, killing police and army officers, elected officials, high-ranking civil servants, United Nations workers and other perceived supporters of the Nigerian government.

Now it has an ominous new front: a war against schools.

Public and private schools here have been doused with gasoline at night and set on fire. Crude homemade bombs — soda bottles filled with gasoline — have been hurled at the bare-bones concrete classrooms Nigeria offers its children.

The simple yellow facades have been blackened and the plain desks melted to twisted pipes, leaving thousands of children without a place to learn, stranded at home and underfoot, while anxious parents plead with Nigerian authorities to come up with a contingency plan for their education.

 

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