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ICC Note: Northern Mali has been all but conquered by radical Muslim terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and others. As millions of people become displaced and suffer under their strict imposition of sharia Islamic law and incessant deadly attacks, the most vulnerable populations struggle the most. Christians exist in Mali as an extreme minority – less than five percent, so the heightened insecurity leads to distrust and social discrimination from neighbors. But, children also suffer greatly. 300 schools in northern Mali are closed because of the insurgency, and an entire generation of kids is left with inadequate education.

By Kieran Guilbert and Katie Nguyen

12/20/15 Mali (AllAfrica) – Insecurity in northern Mali has forced teachers to flee and schools to remain closed, leaving hundreds of thousands of children out of education three months into the academic year, the United Nations said on Friday.

More than 380,000 children aged seven to 15 are still out of school almost four years after conflict involving rival armed groups and Islamist militants erupted in the West African nation, according to the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF.

One in six schools in conflict-hit areas in northern Mali – nearly 300 – remains closed, many for the third year in a row, after being damaged, destroyed, or occupied by armed groups.

Many parents are keeping children at home fearing they will be attacked or hit by unexploded mines on the way to school, UNICEF said.

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