Militant threat closes schools in Burkina province

Militant threat closes schools in Burkina province
2 min read
Schools have had to shut in Burkina Faso's east amid a rising threat by extremist militant groups
Schools have been closed in the militant-controlled province since Monday [AFP/Getty]

The threat posed by militant groups has forced the mass closure of schools in Burkina Faso's eastern province of Tapoa, a young resident said Friday.

"Since Monday all schools in Tapoa province are closed," Marcel Ouoba, spokesperson for a local youth movement, told a news conference in the capital Ouagadougou.

Ouoba added the province was cut off from the rest of the country and said that local authorities were in the process of moving from the town of Tapoa to the main eastern city in the region of Fada N'Gourma.

He added, however, that it was "impossible" for the prefect to leave with his colleagues "as the terrorists have taken over and control all the entrance and exit points," preventing movement in and out.

Ouoba said the militants had made the area their "nest" and that the whole province "has fallen into evil hands - the state no longer controls anything."

He added the area needed humanitarian aid.

One local mayor, speaking on condition of anonymity, also reported the "closure of schools" in a number of localities.

"The security situation in our region is sowing a general psychosis" among inhabitants, he added.

A ministry of education audit earlier this month stated that 2,244 schools - almost 11 percent of the country's total - were currently closed owing to insecurity, affecting over 300,000 pupils.

The poverty stricken West African country is mired in militant unrest with attacks since 2015 claiming nearly 2,000 lives and forcing some 12.4 million people to flee their homes.