KANO, Sep 29 – Boko Haram gunmen on Sunday opened fire in a college dormitory in northeast Nigeria as the students slept, killing at least 28 people, in the latest violence blamed on the Islamist insurgents.
The early morning assault targeted the College of Agriculture in the town of Gujba, some 30 kilometres (18 miles) from Damaturu’s capital of Yobe, said area military spokesman Lazarus Eli.
“Boko Haram terrorists went into the school and opened fire on students” while they were sleeping, he told AFP.
An official at the Damaturu Specialist Hospital, who requested anonymity, said “28 bodies” had been received so far from the Gujba massacre.
“We have been asked to expect more,” he told AFP.
Yobe state, where the college is located, has seen a spate of attacks on schools and universities, all blamed on Boko Haram, an extremist group that has killed hundreds in its four year insurgency.
The name Boko Haram means ‘Western education is forbidden’ and the group has become notorious for slaughtering students of various ages in recent years.
In July in the town of Mamudo in Yobe, Islamists threw explosives and sprayed gunfire into dormitories in the middle of the night, killing 41 students.
Presumed Boko Haram gunmen shot dead seven secondary school students and two teachers in Damaturu in June.
The military has described the recent school attacks as a sign of desperation by the Islamists, claiming they only have the capacity to hit soft targets.
The defence ministry has said that an offensive launched against Boko Haram in mid May has decimated the group and scattered their fighters across remote parts of the northeast, the insurgents’ traditional stronghold.
While many of the recent attacks have occurred in more remote areas, often targeting defenceless civilians, the unchecked killing has cast doubt on the success of the military’s campaign.