Kenya | 24 March 2020

Kenya: Attacks by al-Shabaab force withdrawal of teachers

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The targeted killing of teachers by al-Shabaab militants is impacting education in Kenya, particularly in rural areas near the Somali border. According an article by The Guardian published on 10 March 2020: "Thousands of teachers have left their posts in the past two months" as local authorities in northeastern Kenya begin to withdraw teaching staff from state schools. As CNN reported on 13 January 2020, al-Shabaab had killed three teachers in a night attack on a primary school in Karmuthe, Garissa County. According to a report by Live Now Africa on 1 March 2020, there have been eight such attacks in Garissa County alone this year. Yonas Dembele, Persecution analyst at World Watch Research, comments: "One only needs to think back to the Garissa University attack in 2015, which killed 148 people and wounded at least 79 more, to know that teachers and students have been repeatedly targeted by al-Shabaab in northeast Kenya. It could be argued that the only way to save the lives of the teachers is for them to withdraw, but several factors speak against this. First, such a withdrawal would create an educational crisis in the region. Secondly, it could embolden the militants and encourage them to broaden their attacks and target other public sector institutions. Thirdly, it could be used for propaganda purposes by al-Shabaab. Finally, some of those young schoolchildren could end up in a situation where their only prospect in life would seem to be recruitment in the ranks of al-Shabaab. Thus, it is imperative that the local authorities responsible for closing down schools find other alternatives rather than bowing to the influence of radical Islamic groups."


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