UNICEF: Many Nigeria schools still closed long after rise of Boko Haram

Sept. 29 (UPI) — Thousands of teachers have been killed and more than half of the schools in the portion of Nigeria hit hardest by Boko Haram terrorist attacks remain closed, according to a new UNICEF report.

The United Nations children’s agency said more than 3 million children in northern Nigeria remain in needs of “emergency education relief.”

The report said 57 percent of the schools that existed in Borno state eight years ago, when the terror group began its attacks in the area, have yet to reopen — with many having been damaged or destroyed by Boko Haram militants.

In addition, UNICEF said more than 2,200 teachers who worked at the schools have been killed during the insurgency led by the fundamentalist Islamic group.

“Children in northeast Nigeria are living through so much horror,” said Justin Forsyth, deputy executive director of UNICEF, at the end of a three-day trip to the region.

The issue first came to international attention in April 2014 when Boko Haram militants kidnapped hundreds of girls who were attending school in the region. Though many of the Chibok girls have since escaped or been returned, dozens are still missing.

Forsyth said UNICEF has worked to open schools in refugee camps, where millions of Nigerians are now living after fleeing the violence. In one camp outside Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, more than 90 percent of the children there are enrolled in temporary schools, many of them entering a classroom for the first time in their lives.

In all, he said about 750,000 children in the region have been enrolled in temporary schools.

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