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Boko Haram attacked Federal Government College, killed 43 pupils

Boko Haram Islamists killed 43  pupils  on Tuesday when they attacked  the  Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Yobe State.

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The insurgents reportedly arrived at the college at about 2am  in 11 Hilux vans when the pupils were already asleep.

They were said to have  set  locked hostels on fire, before shooting and slitting the throats of those who tried to climb out of the windows. Some were burnt  alive.

A teacher, Adamu Garba, said he and  some of his colleagues  who ran away through the bush estimated that over  40 pupils  died in the assault  which bore the hallmarks of a similar one in September at an agriculture training college in the state.

Forty sleeping students lost their lives in the September  attack on a series of hostels in the agriculture training college.

Before  the Tuesday morning massacre,  President Goodluck Jonathan, at a seminar on the ‘Imperativeness of the Observance of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Norms in Internal Security Operations’ in Abuja on Monday,  appealed to  Boko Haram terrorists to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue.

Jonathan had during  the presidential media chat also on Monday,   flayed the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima,  for saying that Boko Haram members were better equipped and motivated  than the Nigerian troops deployed to flush them out from the North-East.

He  defended the military’s record, saying it had  recorded  some successes against Boko Haram.

The President  added that  Nigeria was working with the Cameroonian authorities to prevent the militants from mounting attacks in Nigeria and then fleeing over the border.

Another teacher at  the Federal Government College  said the attackers first set ablaze the college administrative block and then moved to the hostels where they  hurled explosives  and    fired  guns  into the  rooms.

At one hostel, he said, ‘Pupils  were trying to climb out of the windows  but were caught and   slaughtered like sheep  by the terrorists. Some had  their throats slit while others who ran were gunned down.”

A senior teacher in the school, Ibrahim Abdul,  said that 11  pupils who were  injured in the attack that   lasted  till 4am were taken to an undisclosed  hospital for treatment.

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He     lamented that 40 houses, hostels, classrooms and staff quarters were burnt in the school.

The  Yobe State  Police Commissioner, Sanusi Rufai, who left Damaturu for  Bunu Yadi,     put the death toll at  29.

“Some of the students were burnt to ashes by the insurgents. From the information I got, no female  pupil  was killed. Only male pupils were killed ,” he told  the Agence France Presse.

But a senior medical source at the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in  Damaturu,   said  that bodies of 43 pupils  had been counted.

“So far, 43 bodies have been brought (from the college) and are lying at the morgue,” said the source, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to discuss death toll.

The Spokesman  for  3 Division,  Special Operation Battalion,   Lazarus Eli,  said that operatives   had  been deployed  in  the area in pursuit of the attackers.

“Details are still sketchy due to lack of telephone access, and it is still not clear how many students were affected in the attack. But  our men are down there in pursuit of the killers,” he added.

A Damaturu resident, Babagoni Musa,  said  that four ambulances carrying dead bodies drove past his shop, which falls on the road from Buni Yadi.

“They had tree branches on them which is a sign used here to signify a corpse is in a vehicle,” he said.

People whose relatives were studying at the college had surrounded the morgue and were desperately seeking information about those killed.

The governor of the state,Ibrahim Gaidam,   who  was apparently dumbfounded,  made a promise of N100m  to   the victims and  the  repair of the damaged structures.

Geidam called on the military to change the tactics deployed to fight the insurgents in order to achieve success.

However, Jonathan on Tuesday, condemned the killings   as callous and senseless.

He said in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, that  he received the news   with immense sadness and anguish.

The President extended   condolences on behalf of himself and the Federal Government to the parents and relatives of the murdered pupils.

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He promised that his administration would not relent in its anti-terrorism fight.

The statement reads, “The President wholly condemns the heinous, brutal and mindless killing of the guiltless students by deranged terrorists and fanatics who have clearly lost all human morality and descended to bestiality.

“He assures the nation that his administration will not relent in its ongoing efforts to end the scourge of terrorism in parts of the country which has sadly claimed more innocent lives today.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will continue to prosecute the war against terror with full vigour, diligence and determination until the dark cloud of mass murder and destruction of lives and property is permanently removed from our horizon.”

A  former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar,  said   he  wept  when he learnt of the   killings  of the pupils.

Abubakar,  in a  statement by his media office in Abuja, said  that all the Federal Government had been doing about   the security situation in the North-East   amounted  to    chasing of shadows.

He  frowned  on  the impression given by  Jonathan   on Monday that the government had  been successful in  pushing armed attacks to the fringes of the country.

The former Vice-President said, “My heartfelt condolences go to  the  families of the slain pupils. It is unfortunate that innocent schoolchildren  will become victims of armed attacks.

“This will not be the first time in recent times that schoolchildren are being attacked, and it is particularly disheartening that the Federal Government has yet to devise a strategy of keeping our schools safe from terror attacks.

“If our counter-insurgency strategies are not strong enough to keep our children safe inside their schools, then one must wonder if  they are not  mere chasing shadows.

“It is important that the Federal Government ups its counter-insurgency strategy and desist from taking credits in pushing armed attacks to the fringes, as the President would like to put it. No Nigerian’s life is less in value to another.”

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