In Brief

Boko Haram targets geography teachers for assassination

New report shows militant group's campaign of terror against Western-style education in Nigeria

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Boko Haram has singled out geography teachers in Nigeria as targets for assassination, according to a report by the Human Rights Watch.

Western education's principles of geography and social science contradict the teachings of group's founder, Mohammed Yusuf, says the Daily Telegraph.

Boko Haram believes the Earth is flat and that rainfall is an act of God and not caused by evaporation. As a result, it ranks geography teachers in Nigeria alongside security chiefs and senior politicians as prime candidates for assassination.

"Boko Haram insurgents have shown particular distaste for certain subjects like geography and science... Teachers of these subjects are targeted," says the report.

The report is based on interviews with more than 200 teachers, students and parents and documents a number of attacks on schools. Among them is an assault on the Mafoni Government Day Secondary School in Maiduguri, the regional capital of Borno, in September, 2012, when gunmen "set their sights" on the geography teacher, Malam Anjili Mala, says the report.

"In its brutal crusade against Western-style education, Boko Haram is robbing an entire generation of children in north-east Nigeria of their education," Mausi Segun, Human Rights Watch's Nigeria researcher told the Telegraph.

The report, timed to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the group's abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, also criticises the misuse of school for military purposes by government security forces. Both Boko Haram and the government have had a devastating effect on the right to education in the north-east of Nigeria, it says.

Some 952,029 school-age children have been forced to flee Boko Haram violence in Nigeria, with around 600,000 losing access to schooling, the report concludes.

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