Horror in Yobe! 41 students, teacher roasted alive as Boko Haram sets hostel ablaze

Students roasted alive •Survivors shot while jumping from windows

Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members yesterday invaded Government Secondary School in Mamudo village, five kilometers from Potiskum town, Yobe State, where they killed no fewer than 41 students and their English teacher.

Reports said the attack which occurred at about 3 a.m. on Saturday was carried out on the school’s boarding house where most of the victims were burned alive, while asleep.

The attackers set fire to the hostels and shot pupils as they tried to flee, the reports added. Already, some of the injured students are on danger list in a local hospital where they are being treated for varying degrees of burns.

Parents screamed in anguish as they tried to identify the charred and gunshot victims. A farmer, Malam Abdullahi found the bodies of two of his sons, a 10-year-old shot in the back as he apparently tried to run away, and a 12-year-old shot in the chest. “That’s it, I’m taking my other boys out of school,” he told newsmen as he wept over the two corpses.

He said he had three younger children in a nearby school. “It’s not safe,” he said. “The gunmen are attacking schools and there is no protection for students despite all the soldiers.”

Initially, survivors at the Potiskum General Hospital and its mortuary said the attackers killed 29 students and one of the teachers, Ibrahim Abdu disclosed that the school’s English teacher, Mohammed Musa, was shot in the chest and was feared dead.

Afterwards, Haliru Aliyu of the Potiskum General Hospital told AFP that, “We received 42 dead bodies of students and other staff of Government Secondary School in Mamudo last night.

“Some of them had gunshot wounds while many of them had burns and ruptured tissues.” 15-year-old Musa Hassan recalled, “We were sleeping when we heard gunshots. When I woke up, someone was pointing a gun at me.”

He put his arm up in defence, and suffered a gunshot that blew off all four fingers on his right hand, the one he uses to write with. He said the gunmen came armed with jerry cans of fuel that they used to torch the school’s administrative block and one of the hostels.

“They burned the children alive,” he said, the horror showing in his wide eyes.

He and teachers at the morgue said dozens of children from the 1,200-student school escaped into the bush but have not been seen since. Some bodies are so charred they could not be identified and so many parents do not know if their children survived or died.

Islamic militants from Boko Haram and breakaway groups have killed more than 1,600 civilians in suicide bombings and other attacks since 2010.

Scores of schools have also been burned down in the past year in the northeast parts of the country. President Goodluck Jonathan had declared a state of emergency May 14 in three states, namely Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, deployed thousands of troops to halt the insurgency, acknowledging that militants had taken control of some towns and villages.

The military has claimed success in regaining control of the areas under emergency rule. However, the areas cover some 155,000 square kilometers (60,000 square miles) or one-sixth of the country.

The military authorities have also said they have killed and arrested hundreds of fighters. But the crackdown, including attacks with fighter jets and helicopter gunships on militant camps, appears to have driven the extremists into rocky mountains with caves, from which they emerge to attack schools and markets, according to an assessment by The Associated Press, yesterday.

The militants have increasingly targeted civilians, including health workers on vaccination campaigns, teachers and government workers.

Farmers have been driven from their land by the extremists and by military roadblocks, raising the specter of a food shortage to add to the woes of a people already hampered by the military’s shutdown of cell phone service and ban on using satellite telephones.

SOURCE: National Mirror

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