25 October 2019 – Education International (EI) condemns the abduction of seven teachers from their school in Northern Mali this 25 October. The seven male teachers from Korientze, a rural community 105 km from the city of Mopti, have been abducted during class by a Jihadist group.
The Jihadists burnt books and school material in front of the terrified children and the community who had gathered to the school, in a clear attempt to discourage education in the region. The whereabouts of the seven teachers – Sekou Bah, Ali Guindo, Aboubacar Sidiki Keita, Alassane Koulogan, Ibrahim Mahamadou, Moussa Ombotimbe, and Amplima Togo – are currently unknown. Female teachers at the school were not taken by the attackers.
The abducted teachers are connected to the Syndicat National de l’Education et de la Culture (SNEC), the EI affiliate in Mali. World Teachers Day celebrations were held on 19 October in the city of Mopti.
EI has informed UNESCO and has written to the Mali authorities to request that they confer with the EI affiliate SNEC to implement protection measures to safeguard teaching in all communities in Mali. It is paramount that local authorities find a suitable solution for the children of the community that was attacked, so that they can continue their education in a safe environment.
The last EI Congress adopted a resolution noting that “schools have become specific targets of violent attacks whereby students and their educators are killed, thus leading to the closure of hundreds of schools and an increase in the number of school dropouts.”
David Edwards, EI Secretary General, stated: “Schools should be sanctuaries where teachers and children can learn in peace. Education is a critical step in breaking the cycle of crises and reducing the likelihood of conflicts. Governments must do more to ensure the protection of education personnel throughout their country.”