Islamist gunmen have stormed a school in northern Nigeria, massacring at least 50 students, in the latest attack by Islamist terrorists in the region.
Coming just days after a deadly attack on a Kenyan shopping mall by Somalian Islamists, the attack – blamed on terrorists from the Al Qaeda-linked “Boko Haram” group – underlines the increased threat of Islamist terrorism in Africa.
Molima Idi Mato, a senior administrator at the Yobe State College of Agriculture told The Associated Press that as many as 50 students may have been killed in the attack that began at about 1 a.m. Sunday in rural Gujba. According to reports, gunmen executed many of their victims as they slept in their dormitories, with up to 1,000 other students fleeing into the surrounding countryside to escape.
Mato warned that the death toll could be higher, as security forces were still recovering bodies.
Northern Nigeria has been wracked by an Islamist insurgency targeting local Christians, security forces and government institutions. Boko Haram is the largest of a number of Islamist factions behind the violence, being waged in pursuit of the establishment of an Islamic state. It’s name – which means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language – reflects the group’s opposition to any non-Muslim or western influence in the country, including within its education system.
This is not the first time Islamists have targeted Nigerian schools, and most schools in the area were closed after terrorists killed 29 pupils and a teacher on July 6, burning some alive in their hostels, at Mamudo outside Damaturu.
The government has already come under fire for failing to provide adequate protection for Yobe State College, after students were urged to return for the start of the school year amid promises that security forces would provide protection. According to local sources, no such protection ever materialized for the school in question, leaving it at the mercy of Boko Haram, which has already killed more 1,700 since 2010 in its quest to establish an Islamic state.