Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Militants Kill Dozens At College In Nigeria

USA Today
September 30, 2013
Pg. 2


Islamic extremists blamed in massacre

By Associated Press
POTISKUM, Nigeria -- Suspected Islamic extremists attacked an agricultural college early Sunday, gunning down dozens of students as they slept in dorms and torching classrooms, the school's provost said. It's the latest violence in northeastern Nigeria's ongoing Islamic uprising.
Provost Molima Idi Mato of Yobe State College of Agriculture in Gujba said there were no security forces protecting the campus. Two weeks ago, the state commissioner for education had begged schools and colleges to reopen after a deadly July 6 attack on a Mamudo school and had promised protection, he said.
Idi Mato said as many as 50 students may have died in the assault that began at about 1 a.m. Sunday. "They attacked our students while they were sleeping. … They opened fire at them," he said. Most of the victims were ages 18 to 22.
Soldiers recovered 42 bodies and transported 18 wounded students to a hospital, said a military official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Two of the wounded later died, said Adamu Usman, a survivor who was helping at the hospital.
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attack, which he blamed on the Boko Haram extremist group, in a TV appearance Sunday night.
Jonathan likened the assault to that on a Nairobi shopping mall last week, where Islamic extremists from Somalia's al-Shabab movement killed 67 civilians. Boko Haram has said some of its fighters trained with al-Shabab in Somalia.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has said in video addresses that his group wants to end democracy in Nigeria and allow education only in Islamic schools. Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden."
Its uprising poses the biggest security challenge in years to this country.
Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and its most populous nation with more than 160 million people -- almost equal numbers of which are Muslims and Christians.
Boko Haram militants have killed more than 1,700 people since 2010.
Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe state, where the killings occurred, questioned the effectiveness of the military crackdown.
The gunmen rode into the college in two double-cabin pickup all-terrain vehicles and on motorcycles, some dressed in Nigerian military uniforms, a surviving student, Ibrahim Mohammed, told the AP. He said they appeared to know the layout of the college, attacking the four male hostels but avoiding the one hostel reserved for women.

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