Schools in Burkina Faso near the borders with Mali and Niger are coming under increasing threat from jihadist groups demanding the schools abandon secular education.
On Monday, four armed men on motorbikes pulled up to a school in the small northern community of Toulfé.
Burkina Faso’s Minister of Education Stanislas Ouaro told BBC Afrique the gunmen forced everyone on to the floor before whipping four of the teachers and the school director in front of the students.
The director got six lashes and each teacher got two, he said.
The gunmen reportedly introduced themselves as Ansarul Islam members, an extremist group launched in 2016 by Malam Dicko and considered active in the northern part of the country.
Meanwhile, a public school closed this week in the eastern town of Gayeri, after teachers reported seeing a threatening message written in French on an announcements board of the school.
“We will come back on 14 November to empty the school of its students. If we find a teacher, he is dead,” the threat read, according to the education minister who spoke to the teachers.
The minister told the BBC more than 560 schools had not been operational in border areas since October as teachers had fled or not shown up to work because of security concerns.