Boko Haram storm Nigeria college dorm, kill 40
By Aminu Abubakar, AFPKANO, Nigeria--Boko Haram gunmen on Sunday opened fire in a college dormitory in northeast Nigeria as the students slept, killing at least 40 people, in the latest massacre blamed on the Islamist insurgents.
September 30, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
All of the dead were said to have been students of the College of Agriculture in the town of Gujba, some 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state.
The early morning attack was carried out by “Boko Haram terrorists who went into the school and opened fire on students” while they were sleeping, the military spokesman in Yobe, Lazarus Eli, told AFP.
An official at the Damaturu Specialist Hospital, who requested anonymity, said “40 bodies”, all of whom appeared to be of university student age, had been received so far from Gujba.
Four others were being treated for gunshot wounds, he told AFP.
Hundreds of people “have thronged to the hospital” including relatives of those who attend the college, trying to learn if their family members are among the victims, the hospital official added.
Yobe has seen a spate of attacks on schools and universities, all blamed on Boko Haram, an extremist group that has killed hundreds in its four-year insurgency.
The name Boko Haram means 'Western education is forbidden' and the group has become notorious for slaughtering students of various ages in recent years.
In July in the town of Mamudo in Yobe, Islamists threw explosives and sprayed gunfire into dormitories in the middle of the night, killing 41 students.
Presumed Boko Haram gunmen shot dead seven secondary school students and two teachers in Damaturu in June.
The military has described the recent school attacks as a sign of desperation by the Islamists, claiming they only have the capacity to hit soft targets.
The defence ministry has said that an offensive launched against Boko Haram in mid-May has decimated the group and scattered their fighters across remote parts of the northeast, the insurgents' traditional stronghold.
While many of the recent attacks have occurred in more remote areas, often targeting defenceless civilians, the unchecked killing has cast doubt on the success of the military's campaign.
Scores have been killed this month, including in the northeastern town of Benisheik in Borno state, where at least 142 people were slaughtered by presumed Boko Haram fighters who came disguised as soldiers, set up checkpoints and fired on motorists and bystanders.
Some of the recent violence has targeted vigilante groups which have formed to help the military.
The northeast remains under a state of emergency imposed on May 14.
The phone network has been switched off in much of the northeast since the emergency measures were declared, a move the military said would help prevent the Islamists from coordinating attacks.
Some have suggested that the lack of phone service has prevented civilians from sounding the alarm during attacks.
While the phones remained down in Gujba, calls to Damaturu were going through on Sunday.
Boko Haram has said it is fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north, but the group is believed to be made up of different factions with varying aims.