Islamist gunmen from Nigeria’s Boko Haram insurgent group killed 42 people, mostly students, in an overnight attack on a secondary school, a medical worker and local residents said Saturday.
“We received 42 dead bodies of students and staff of a Government Secondary School in Mamudo last night,” Haliru Aliyu of the Potiskum General Hospital told AFP. “Some of them had gunshot wounds while many of them had burns and ruptured tissues.”
Mamudo is some five kilometers from the commercial hub of Potiskum, which has been a flash point in the Boko Haram insurgency in recent months.
“From accounts of teachers and other students who escaped the attack, the gunmen gathered their victims in a hostel and threw explosives and opened fire, leading to the death of 42,” Aliyu said.
He added that security personnel were combing the bushes around the school in search of students who were believed to have escaped with gunshot wounds. “So far, six students have been found and are now in the hospital being treated for gunshot wounds,” he said.
A local resident who did not want to be named confirmed the attack. “It was a gory sight. People who went to the hospital and saw the bodies shed tears. There were 42 bodies, most of them were students. Some of them had parts of their bodies blown off and badly burnt while others had gunshot wounds,” he said.
He said the attack was believed to be a reprisal by the Boko Haram Islamists for the killing of 22 sect members during a military raid in the town of Dogon Kuka on Thursday. Nigeria declared a state of emergency in three states in mid-May as it launched a major offensive to end the insurgency.
Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency has left some 3,600 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces. Boko Haram, which means “Western education is evil” has killed hundreds of students in attacks on schools in the region in recent months