The UN has revealed that over 10,000 children were unable to resume school in Central African Republic (CAR) in 2016 because of the prolonged civil war in the country which saw armed groups turn schools into their bases. The armed groups of militia were told to leave the schools they were occupying or face forceful eviction by the UN troops, reported the BBC.
At least a third of all schools were either struck by bullets, set on fire, looted or occupied by the armed groups, the UN report said. After the schools resumed in September, many students in the areas outside capital Bangui failed to rejoin due to insecurity.
The UN peacekeeping mission in CAR (Minusca) had ordered all militia factions to leave school premises that they were occupying. It had given a stern warning to adopt forceful means if required. The UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) had noted that about 400 primary schools were closed in CAR and thousands of children were deprived of school education.
Unicef’s Chief of Communications in CAR, Donaig Le Du, stated that the conflict should not prevent children from going to schools. She said that schools were not part of the conflict, they had no political affiliation, as such, they should be spared, the BBC reported.
“Schools are not part of the conflict, they have no political affiliation. No child should be prevented from going to school by conflict,” she said. The Minusca said that all armed groups should not come within 500m of any school, or hinder educational activities in any form.
The CAR is trying to recover from a brutal civil war that erupted in 2013. Despite the presence of 12,000 peacekeepers and more based in the country, isolated incidences of violence continues.