Somalia’s al-Shabaab rebels have banned English and science studies in schools in the southern Afmadow town after the education centers there ignored thegroup’s call for fighters, residents and teachers say.
Residents of the town near the border with Kenya said three schools had been given one month to comply with the order by Shabaab rebels and switch the curriculum to accommodate Arabic and Islamic studies.
“They asked us to contribute students to their militia so that they can fight for them, but we rejected their proposal,” said one teacher who wanted to remain anonymous.
Shabaab, which Washington says is al-Qaeda’s proxy in the failed Horn of Africa state, wants to topple Somalia’s U.N.-backed government and impose its own strict version of Shariah, Islamic law.
The heavily armed group controls much of the south and parts of the capital Mogadishu, and courts run by its clerics have ordered executions, floggings and amputations.
It has also banned movies, dancing at wedding ceremonies and playing or watching soccer in the areas under its control.
Elders said the Shabaab militia shut down Waamo, Dhoobaale and Osman Mohamud schools briefly on Sunday, before slapping the ban on English, which they called a “spy language.”