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Students killed as varsities go military

Story from: CAJ News Africa

download (9)From MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – RIGHTS groups have appealed to the African Union to withdraw its troops from schools and universities they are using as bases against terrorists.
Last week, some 300 Burundian soldiers serving in the AU peace support force in Somalia (AMISOM), finally abandoned their military base on the Somalia National University campus in Dharkenley district outside the capital Mogadishu.
The troops had been encamped at the university for ten years resulting in the death and injury of students in attacks on schools used by fighters.
The occupation of schools and universities by troops fighting the Al-Shabaab terror group has also interrupted studies.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the withdrawal of AU troops from the Somali university was welcome and offered hope for the return of academic studies to the facility.
It has been hailed as a good moment to reflect on what the AU could do to avoid such military use of academic institutions in the future.
“The AU should end any use of schools and universities by its peacekeepers,” the rights group stated.
Apart from Somalia, Ethiopia has also suffered similar intrusion by troops.
Soldiers have used Hiraan University as a military base, forcing the university to set up a makeshift structure outside campus.
The continued intrusions are in spite of the AU Peace and Security Council encouraging member countries to join the Safe Schools Declaration, an international
political commitment to take commonsense steps to better protect students, teachers, schools and universities during times of war.
A major recommendation is to refrain from using schools and universities for military purposes.
  – CAJ News

 

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