Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamic extremist group, has been training young boys to return to their schools and kill their former teachers and students, many of them Christians, according to a new report.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Boko Haram, whose name translates to "western education is sin," accuses Christians of guiding the nation's education system, which contradicts several of the radicals' beliefs, such as that the Earth is flat.
Persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern responded to the story on Wednesday by saying that it's "disconcerting that minors are being indoctrinated by Boko Haram to kill their teachers."
"Boko Haram targets attacks and forces the shutting down of schools, abducts students and kills teachers. The Chibok girls were abducted from their boarding school. Regions where Boko Haram is in control are forced to shut down their schools in fear of attacks," the group added, noting that it's in the process of opening a school in an IDP Camp for children of families displaced by Boko Haram, and linked to its Kids Care fund.
The LA Times report listed a number of attacks on Nigerian schools in recent years, with the terror group seeking to drive a wedge between the nation's Christians and Muslims, who each make up roughly half of the population.
As many as 611 teachers have been assassinated since Boko Haram's rise in 2009, the Nigerian teacher's union estimated, while 910 schools have been burned down and 1,500 others have been forced to close down.
Many of the attacks have reportedly come from former students who have been trained to return to their schools and kill their teachers and other students.
"Boko Haram believes Earth is flat, and that Muslims are permitted to take slaves and duty-bound to kill infidels. Culture and history also play a role in the group's fixation with secular education, according to analysts," the report noted. "British colonialists brought education and Christianity to the region at the beginning of the 20th century, triggering long-held resentment which lingers to this day."
Mausi Segun, a researcher with the group Human Rights Watch, noted that Islamic hardliners often place their distrust of foreign education specifically on the shoulders of Christians.
"There's a perception among Muslims that the content of education is Christian-led. They saw it as a ploy to Christianize their children, so to be a good Muslim was to keep them away from those kind of schools," Segun said.
Many of the kidnapped schoolgirls, on the other hand, have been sold into marriage and forced to convert to Islam. Yet there have also been a number of reports that some of the girls, such as those kidnapped from Chibok, have been trained to carry out suicide bombing missions.
The terror group has reportedly used the kidnapped girls in some of its cross-border attacks, bombing villages also in Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.