bok haram leader call for more attacj
Abubakar Shekau describes western-styleeducation as a 'plot against Islam', as two-pronged strategy delivers young recruits.
The leader of Nigeria's Islamist militant group Boko Haram has called for more attacks againstschools, describing western education as a"plot against Islam", in a video released days after his fighters killed 46 students in an assault on a dorm.
In the 15-minute recording released at the weekend, Abubakar Shekau said schools would continue to be targeted"until our last breath".
"Teachers who teach western education? We will kill them! We will kill them in front of their students, and tell the students to henceforth study the Qur'an," he said, gesticulating energetically while dressed in military fatigues and a traditional hat.
Shekau denied that his fighters killed children."Our religion does not permit us to touch small children and women, we don't kill children," he said, reading from sheets of paper ashe cradled a Kalashnikov. He also dismissed talk ofa ceasefire. Last week the government said it had signed a deal with Shekau's second-in-command.
With its ability to launch attacksreduced by a military crackdown, BokoHaram is redrawing the battle lines in Nigeria's four-year insurgency bygoing after softer targets. A recent spate of attacks on schools is part of a two-pronged strategy that plays up the extremists' ideology against western institutions while also providing a stream of potential new recruits asfrightened parents pull their children out of educationeducation.
Unschooled and unemployed children areincreasingly being recruited ¨C sometimes forcibly ¨Cto fill the ranksof Boko Haram and unleash violence againsttheir peers, the Guardian has learned. Witnesses say many areplied with dates stuffed with tramadol ¨C a narcotic usedto tranquilise horses ¨C before being sent on missions.
Just after dawn on 6 July, a school dormitory was doused in petrol and set alight in north-eastern Yobe. Those trying to flee the flames were shot. The attack left 46 dead, mostly students. More than 300classrooms have been torched in the remote, arid state since 2009, according to official counts.
Hundreds of families have fled the region."This really shook us up.Students being attacked in their sleep is too disgusting for us to even imagine," said Adam Mohammed, a textiles trader visiting neighbouring northern Kano state, where he relocated his family for safety reasons. "It was hard, but I feel I made the right decision to leave Yobe. I'm a father of three and when I think of whatthose parents must be going through ¡" He shook hishead mutely
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