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A mother of an abducted Chibok girl walks on April 14, 2015 past the school hostel where 219 schoolgirls by Boko Haram.
Stringer / AFP / Getty Images
Boko Haram destroyed more than 1,000 schools this year, UN says
The four countries most affected by the the group's uprising are Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria
November 16, 201510:02AM ET
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.
The U.N. envoy stressed that while refugees fleeing Boko Haram violence were not currently a significant contributor to Europe's migrant crisis, that could change if the situation around Lake Chad remains dire.
"Is that something that could be on the cards? Absolutely," Lanzer told journalists, warning that with a rising population, crippling poverty and continuing violence, significant numbers of young men around Lake Chad could increasingly try to migrate towards Europe.
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in May, has instructed his military commanders to crush the insurgency by the end of the year.
Lanzer offered broad praise for Buhari's response to the crisis.
"There is a pretty realistic appreciation of the gravity of the situation," he said, specifying that he was speaking specifically about the administration led by Buhari, who took power from Goodluck Jonathan, whose handling of the conflict was strongly criticized.