Boko Haram kills 29 pupils in Yobe

Gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram on Saturday morning attacked Government Secondary School, Mamudo, Potiskum, Yobe State, killing 29 pupils and a teacher in the boarding school.

It was learnt that some victims were burnt alive by the attackers, while others were shot while trying to escape.

Several other pupils sustained injuries as they tried to flee and are in critical condition at a hospital in the town.

Parents and guardians could not control their tears when they got to the scene of the incident.

A farmer, Malam Abdullahi, wept over the bodies of his two sons, aged 10 and 12, when he got to the scene of the incident.

“That’s it, I’m taking my other boys out of school,” he told the Associated Press. Abdullahi said he had three younger children in a nearby school.

A 15-year-old student also told the AP that the gunmen came armed with jerrycans of fuel that they used to torch the school’s administrative block and one of the hostels.

“We were sleeping when we heard gunshots. When I woke up, someone was pointing a gun at me,” he said.

He put his arm up in defence, and suffered a gunshot that blew off all four fingers on his right hand

In June, a similar attack was carried out on a school in Damaturu, resulting in the killing of seven pupils and two teachers in a government secondary school and nine pupils in another school in Maiduguri, Borno State.

Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states are under a state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in May. The President ordered troops into the region to tackle the insurgency by the Boko Haram sect.

The spokesman for the Joint Task Force in Yobe, Eli Lazarus, confirmed the killing of the pupils in a statement on Saturday.

Even though JTF put the figure at 21, a reliable and highly-placed military source told one of our correspondents that the number of dead persons was 29.

Lazarus said, “Unknown gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists attacked Government Secondary School, Mamudo near Potiskum town.

“Twenty pupils and a teacher were confirmed killed by the terrorists while four pupils sustained injuries and are in critical condition.”

 Lazarus said no arrest had been made while a “cordon and search operation” was ongoing in the area.

In a swift reaction to the massacre, the United Nations Children’s Fund said the attack should be “condemned absolutely by all communities,” adding that a total of 48 pupils and seven teachers had been killed in four attacks since June 16.

“There can be no justification for the deliberate targeting of children and those looking after them,” West Africa director, Manuel Fontaine, said in a statement.

In a related development, gunmen attacked a police station and a branch of First Bank, killing three policemen in Karim Lamido, Taraba State, on Friday night.

A police officer said the attackers blew up the bank’s vault with dynamite and stole some cash.

It was learnt that the men of the JTF had cordoned off the area for ongoing operations to fish out the killers but nobody had been arrested in relation with the incident.

Confirming the Taraba incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Kwaji, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Jalingo on Saturday, that no casualty was recorded.

He said the armed men stormed Karim-Lamido town around 8.30pm on Friday and attacked the bank and the police station.

“Yes the attack by a criminal gang suspected to be armed robbers, took place Friday night.

“We are still investigating the situation; but there is calm in the area and our men are searching for the hoodlums,” he said.

The council chairman, Mr. Idi Danfulani, who also confirmed the attack, said he had yet to establish if the gang succeeded in stealing money from the bank.

“There was an attack in the night; armed robbers broke in and ransacked the bank. They also attacked the police station, but we thank God there was no report of loss of life,” Danfulani said.

The Yobe State Government had last week said it had spent over N4bn battling insurgents, pointing out that 209 schools had been razed down by the terrorists in various parts of the state.

Yobe State Deputy Governor, Abubakar Aliyu, told the visiting members of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, led by Mr. Kabiru Turaki, that since November 2011, many lives had been lost.

He said property belonging to government institutions and individuals were destroyed by the insurgents, adding that the cost of the 209 schools destroyed was estimated at N2.5bn.

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