Suspected Boko Haram Islamists killed 43 people on Tuesday when they attacked secondary school students as they slept, in the latest school massacre to hit Nigeria’s troubled northeast.
The raid at 2.00 am (0100 GMT) targeted the Federal Government School in the town of Buni Yadi in Yobe state and bore the hallmarks of a similar attack last September in which 40 died.
The attackers reportedly hurled explosives into student residential buildings, sprayed gunfire into rooms and hacked a number of students to death.
A senior medical source at the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital in Yobe’s capital Damaturu said the gunmen only targeted male students and that female students were “spared.”
“So far, 43 bodies have been brought [from the school] and are lying at the morgue,” said the source, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to discuss death tolls.
Yobe has been one of the hardest areas in Boko Haram’s four-and-half year Islamist uprising, which has killed thousands of people.
The name Boko Haram means “Western Education is forbidden.”
The group has been blamed for waves of school attacks, especially in Yobe, where scores of students have been slaughtered in the last year.
The state’s police chief, Sanusi Rufai, who confirmed the attack and had given an earlier death toll of 29, was headed to Buni Yadi, roughly 60 km from Damaturu, with Governor Ibrahim Geidam to assess the damage.
Damaturu resident Babagoni Musa told AFP that four ambulances carrying 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 school had surrounded the morgue and were desperately seeking information about those killed, forcing the military take control of the building, the hospital source said.