Nigeria college attack: Extremists gun down sleeping studentsAbout 40 Nigerian agriculture college students were slaughtered during the night, and Boko Haram, an Islamist militant sect, is suspected.By: Adamu Adamu And Michelle Faul
The Associated Press, Published on Sun Sep 29 2013
DAMATURU, NIGERIA—Suspected Islamist militants stormed a college in northeastern Nigeria early Sunday and shot dead around 40 male students, some of them while they were sleeping, witnesses said.
The gunmen, thought to be members of rebel sect Boko Haram, attacked one hostel, took some students outside before killing them and shot others trying to flee, people at the scene told Reuters.
Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, has intensified attacks on civilians in recent weeks in revenge for a military offensive against its insurgency. Several schools, seen as the focus of Western-style education and culture, have been targeted.
The group’s name means “Western education is a sin” in the local Hausa language.
President Goodluck Jonathan described the latest attack as “the creation of the devil” and suggested it might be time to change tactics against the rebels, without going into details.
“They started gathering students into groups outside, then they opened fire and killed one group and then moved onto the next group and killed them. It was so terrible,” said one surviving student Idris, who would only give his first name.
“They came with guns around 1 a.m. and went directly to the male hostel and opened fire on them ... The college is in the bush so the other students were running around helplessly as guns went off and some of them were shot down,” said Ahmed Gujunba, a taxi driver who lives nearby.
Bodies were recovered from dormitories and classrooms and from undergrowth outside on Sunday.
A Reuters witness counted 40 bloody corpses piled on the floor at the main hospital in Yobe state capital Damaturu on Sunday, mostly of young men believed to be students.
The bodies were brought from the college, which is in Gujba, a rural area 50 kilometres south of Damaturu.
State police commissioner Sanusi Rufai said he suspected Boko Haram was behind the attack but gave no details.
Thousands have been killed since Boko Haram launched its uprising in 2009, turning itself from a clerical movement opposed to Western culture into an armed militia with growing links to Al Qaeda’s West African wing.
Boko Haram and spinoff Islamist groups like the Al Qaeda-linked Ansaru have become the biggest security threat in Africa’s second largest economy and top oil exporter.
Western governments are increasingly worried about the threat posed by Islamist groups across Africa, from Mali and Algeria in the Sahara, to Kenya in the east, where Somalia’s Al Shabab fighters killed 67 people in a Nairobi mall a week ago.
President Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states in May, including Yobe, and ordered a military offensive to crush Boko Haram’s insurgency.
There was an initial lull in the violence as Islamists fled bases in cities, forests and mountains. Then the militants began revenge attacks on schools, security forces and civilians believed to be helping them.
In July, suspected Boko Haram militants killed 27 students and a teacher at a school in Potiskum, a town about 50 kilometres from the site of Sunday’s attack.http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/09/29/nigeria_college_attack_extremists_gun_down_sleeping_students.html