Horror: Boko Haram Bombs Students During Devotion, Kills 47
Barely one week after a bomb blast that was targeted at members of Muslim Shite sect in a procession, the Potiskum town, in Yobe State Monday morning once more convulsed as suicide bombers stormed the assembly of the Comprehensive Senior Science Secondary School with explosives, leaving about 47 students dead, while several others were seriously injured.
Sources said that the second devastating blast within one week, which was suspected to be wrecked by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents, occurred as early as 8. 00 am – the time many of the students and their teachers were rounding off their usual morning assembly.
The State Police Command Spokesperson, Nansak Chegwam, has confirmed the blast, putting the total dead as 47 people, while 79 were injured.
He said that the Military and other rescue teams have arrived the school premises to take charge of the situation.
Toll is predicted to rise as some of the students rushed to hospital were in very dire conditions. The Senior Secondary school is one of the most populous public schools in the state.
It would be recalled some members of Muslim shite sect were attacked by the suspected insurgents last Monday, as they were preparing for a procession to mark the new Muslim Hijrah – 1436AH Ashura (Muharram 10) day.
About a dozen persons were killed, with many others injured in that attack.
The latest attack came in the wake of the circulation of a new video purportedly released by the Boko Haram sect depicting total control of a town in the North. The video showed images of fully armed members of the sect parading a street.
Student Adamu Abdullahi said those at the centre of the blast near the principal’s office were flung in all directions and others were knocked off their feet.
“I found myself under the weight of another student, who fell over me. I’m certain he was dead. I was dazed and disorientated for a moment,” he told AFP.
“When I realised what had happened, I managed to push the body on top of me and started running like everyone else. It was confusion all over. Everybody was hysterical.
“I saw many people on the ground. Human flesh and blood were splattered all over the place… I ran out of the school and went home.
“When my father saw me he was terrified. I didn’t realise my white school uniform was stained with human blood and bits of flesh.”
The dead and injured were taken to the Potiskum General Hospital just 100 metres (yards) away.
Boko Haram, which wants to create a hardline Islamic state in northern Nigeria, has previously carried out deadly attacks on schools teaching a so-called Western curriculum since 2009.
In February, gunmen killed at least 40 students after throwing explosives into the dormitory of a government boarding school in Buni Yadi, also in Yobe state.
In July last year, 42 students were killed when Boko Haram stormed dormitories in a gun and bomb attack on a government boarding school in the village of Mamudo, near Potiskum.
Boko Haram’s most high-profile attack on a school came in April, when fighters kidnapped 276 girls from the town of Chibok in Borno state, also in northeast Nigeria.
More than six months later, 219 of the girls are still being held.
Monday’s attack will again raise concerns about the level of security at schools in northern Nigeria.
Abdullahi said the establishment was “not properly fenced”.
“Anybody can go in and out unhindered,” he added.
Potiskum, the commercial hub of Yobe state, has been repeatedly targeted by deadly attacks blamed on Boko Haram.
Last Monday, at least 15 people were killed in a suicide bombing on a Shiite religious ceremony in the city. On Wednesday, 16 men arrested by the military on suspicion of links to Boko Haram were found dead with bullet wounds just hours later.
Yobe is one of three northeastern states that has been under a state of emergency since May last year to try to quell the bloody insurgency.
But violence has continued unabated and Boko Haram has seized at least two dozen towns and villages in recent months, raising doubts about the government’s ability to control the region.
Boko Haram fighters were seen in a new video obtained by AFP on Sunday parading a tank in an unidentified town that they apparently now control and Shekau preaching to locals.
The message in the 44-minute video appeared to be aimed at reinforcing Shekau’s claim that he has created a caliphate within Nigeria.
Shekau, who has previously expressed solidarity with other jihadi groups and leaders, seemed to associate territory under his control with a wider, global caliphate.
But he does not submit to the authority of any other leader.