Ouagadougou, 19 July, 2020 / 3:30 pm (ACI Africa).
A missionary Priest ministering in Burkina Faso has expressed his concerns about the multiple cases of insecurity in the landlocked West African nation and cautioned about the danger of children who have not been attending school for over a year being targeted for recruitment by jihadists operating mainly in the east and north of the country.
In a report shared with Agenzia Fides, Fr. Marco Prada, a member of the Society of African Missions (SMA), says that children are exposed to greater dangers considering that the education system in the north of Burkina Faso has “completely fallen apart for more than a year.”
“These children will not be deprived of education only; they risk above all becoming the target of forced recruitment by jihadists, and being employed as child soldiers, as already happens with these extremely violent groups,” Fr. Marco says in the Wednesday, July 15 report.
He adds, “In the regions of Burkina Faso on the border with Mali and Niger there is no more school; several school buildings have been set on fire, and many teachers murdered. The devastation is the work of terrorist groups that rage in the area."
Multiple insurgent attacks targeting teachers and students in the country since 2017 have had a devastating impact on children's access to education, with 350,000 children deprived of formal education, a recent report by Human Rights Watch indicates.