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Updated May 29, 2020
School Girls Burkina Faso
A policeman walks behind schoolgirls in Yemboate, a village in the far north of Togo, as they cross the border into Burkina Faso on February 17, 2020. Togolese security agencies have intensified surveillance around the border to prevent incursions by jihadists.

Human Rights Watch has reported that over 2,500 schools in Burkina Faso have been forced to close in response to escalating numbers of terrorist attacks, holding back around 350,000 primary school-aged children from receiving an education. Since 2017, the country’s Ministry of Education found that at least 222 education workers have been deliberately targeted and made “victims of terrorist attacks”.

The report documented 126 attacks and threats of violence against educators, learners, and schools, more than half of which occurred in 2019 alone. This added security concern compounds the risks posed to Burkinabe children, who are set to return to school in nine days following countrywide closures put in place on March 14.

Armed Islamist groups have targeted schools in opposition to the teaching of French and other forms of Western-based education.

 

Joint Military Operation

The marked negative impact that terrorism has had on Burkina Faso’s schools reaffirms the importance of a joint military operation with Côte d’Ivoire, dubbed Operation Comoé, which recently reported a successful raid on a jihadist base in the border town of Alidougou in southern Burkina Faso.

 

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