News / Africa

    Cameroon Urges Return of Students Displaced by Boko Haram

    Children displaced by Boko Haram during an attack on their villages receive lectures in a camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Dec. 7, 2015.
    Children displaced by Boko Haram during an attack on their villages receive lectures in a camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Dec. 7, 2015.

    A United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) report published this month states that a million children lack education as 2000 schools have been closed in Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger and Chad, countries that have been suffering from the Boko Haram insurgency. The military has been encouraging children who escaped after their schools were destroyed in Far Northern Cameroon to return.  Some are seeking education in safer locations. 

    Kwene Ekwelle, one of the senior commanders of Cameroon troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgency, pleads with villagers of Kerawa on Cameroon's northern border with Nigeria's Borno state to send their children to school.

    He said the Cameroon military is meeting the villagers to assure them of their protection from Boko Haram fighters and encourage parents to bring their children back to schools from where ever they are hiding. He said they are fighting Boko Haram so that every Cameroonian child should go to school, every farmer should work freely in his farm and people should go around freely. He added that the villagers should have confidence in their military. 

    War zone

    The remote Kerawa village has been a war zone since Boko Haram extended its attacks from Nigeria to Cameroon in a bid to create an Islamist state three years ago. Two schools in the area were burnt by the insurgents in December last year.

    Ibrahim Joel Mahamat, Cameroon's far north regional delegate for basic education, said hundreds of the villages' school goers fled to safer locations in Cameroon's hinterlands.

    He said that since April of this past year, more than 33,000 primary school children have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the far north region of Cameroon.

    Among the students who have escaped and are seeking education in safer areas is Mboake David. The 17-year-old, now studying at a government bilingual high school in Maroua, does not imagine returning to his village soon.

    He said he cannot risk his life by returning to his village where there is war.

    Philomene Mebenga, one of the head teachers in Maroua, said they have received instructions from the government of Cameroon to admit all children fleeing Boko Haram even if classrooms are congested.

    She said the children like all other Cameroonian children need education and as such should not be denied that basic right under the pretext that classrooms are already congested. She said she encourages the children not to lose hope and tells them they will be able to go back to their villages when peace returns.

    In March 2015, Cameroon launched an $8 million emergency plan to construct schools in safer localities away from volatile areas overrun by Boko Haram. Facilities including 200 classrooms, dormitories and latrines for 70,000 students were to be built.

    This month UNICEF said more than 2,000 schools have been closed in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, while hundreds of others have been attacked, looted, or set on fire by Boko Haram fighters in their quest to create an independent Islamic state.

    Both Cameroon and the U.N. agency have been expressing fears that lack of education may fuel further radicalism especially now that Boko Haram has been recruiting child suicide bombers.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora