Boko Haram members have destroyed an estimated 1,100 schools this year in their stronghold region surrounding Lake Chad, the United Nations envoy to the area said Monday.
The targeted schools were in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, the four countries most affected by the armed uprising, said Toby Lanzer, who became U.N. envoy to central Africa’s restive Sahel region in July.
Boko Haram has been blamed for scores of attacks on schools and universities in an insurgency that has killed at least 17,000 people since 2009. The armed group made international headlines in April 2014 when its members kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from a school in Chibok, a town in Borno State, Nigeria. Fifty-three of the school girls escaped but the rest remain missing.
Lanzer also provided updated figures for the number of people displaced by the conflict.
He said that Maiduguri, a city in northeastern Nigeria, has seen its population swell to 2.6 million following an influx of 1.6 million people fleeing violence.
In total, 2.6 million have been forced from their homes by the fighting, 2.2 million of whom are Nigerians, Lanzer said. He made his comments following a tour of the Lake Chad basin region, which touches all four affected countries.
Read more at Al Jazeera.