GUNMEN suspected to be members of Boko Haram sect, on Tuesday, opened fire on students of Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Yobe State, in their sleep at their hostel, with over 40 students said to have been killed in the attack.
Casualty figures from the attack in the town, about 60 kilometres from the state capital, Damaturu, were not immediately available, but scores of students were killed in similar attacks in the state last year.
Pictures of the scene of the incident were too gory to be published in a national newspaper.
The military spokesman in Yobe, Lazarus Eli, said the raid occurred at 2.00 a.m, when the gunmen “opened fire on student hostels.”
According to Eli, “details are still sketchy due to lack of telephone access and it is still not clear how many students were affected in the attack.”
It will be recalled that more than 1,000 people have been killed in the region since the emergency measures were imposed, despite the enhanced military presence.
Jonathan, Wike, Atiku condemn attack
President Goodluck Jonathan, reacting to the development, said he was immensely saddened by the massacre of 43 students by suspected terrorists in Yobe State.
According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, in Abuja, on Tuesday, Jonathan received the news of the “callous and senseless murder” with immense sadness and anguish.
The president, on behalf of the Federal Government, extended condolences to the parents and relatives of the murdered students.
“The president wholly condemns the heinous, brutal and mindless killing of the guiltless students by deranged terrorists and fanatics, who have clearly lost all human morality and descended to bestiality.
“He assures the nation that his administration will not relent in its ongoing efforts to end the scourge of terrorism in parts of the country, which has sadly claimed more innocent lives today.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will continue to prosecute the war against terror with full vigour, diligence and determination until the dark cloud of mass murder and destruction of lives and property is permanently removed from our horizon,” the statement read.
Also, the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, condemned the attack, saying that it was shocking.
In a statement by his special assistant on media, Simeon Nwakaudu, Wike said he received the news of the attack with shock, adding that he had reached out to the management and staff of the school to commiserate with them.
While commiserating with families of the bereaved, the minister noted that the Ministry of Education would continue to liaise with security agencies and relevant stakeholders to improve security around all federal unity colleges.
In his reaction, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said efforts being made by the Federal Government and the security agencies in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency appeared to be ineffective.
Atiku, in a statement on Tuesday, said “all the Federal Government had been doing about addressing the security situation in the North-East amounts to mere chasing of shadows, if school walls cannot be protected from armed attacks.
“This will not be the first time in recent times that school children are being attacked and it is particularly disheartening that the Federal Government is yet to devise a strategy of keeping our schools safe from terror attacks.
“If our counter-insurgency strategies are not strong enough to keep our children safe inside their schools, then one must wonder if such a strategy isn’t mere chasing of shadows.”
Atiku was said to have been particularly miffed by a statement made by President Jonathan at his presidential media chat on Monday, to the effect that the government had been successful at pushing armed attacks to the fringes of the country.
“It is important that the Federal Government upped its counter-insurgency strategy and desist from taking credits in pushing armed attacks to the fringes, as the president would like to put it. No Nigerian’s life is less in value to another,” the former vice president stated.
He added that it was imperative for government to ensure security in schools, particularly Federal Government colleges, because of what he described as their unique role in forging national unity among pupils from diverse backgrounds in the country.
Gunmen steal 6-month-old male child in Abia
Unidentified gunmen have reportedly stolen a six-month-old male child at Amapu Umuaja village, in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State.
Sources from the village said the incident happened around 9.30 p.m on Monday, when most of the villagers had already gone to bed.
It was learnt that the gunmen, who came to the victim’s parents compound in a motorbike, after forcefully breaking into Mrs Peace Chikezie’s house, snatched away her child and her mobile phone, apparently to stop her from contacting other members of her immediate family.
A source, who pleaded not to be mentioned, confirmed the incident and, however, stated that the gunmen were yet to make initial contact with the victim’s family.
The source said the villagers got to know about the incident after the mother raised the alarm after the gunmen had left the compound, after which a search team set up for a possible recovery of the baby and apprehension of the victim failed.
The matter had been reported at the Umuoba divisional police headquarters for proper investigation.
Efforts to reach Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, Geoffrey Ogbonna, failed, as calls put to his mobile phone rang out without response.
However, a senior police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the incident, adding that the police were on top of the situation.
Meanwhile, AT least 245 people have been killed by Boko Haram sect from January 14, 2014 to date.
The first attack was on January 14, in Maiduguri, Borno State, when a suicide bomber killed about 31 people and left over 50 others injured.
This was followed by another attack at Izghe village in Borno State, where 106 villagers were confirmed killed and several others injured.
The lastest, being an attack on students of the Federal Government College, Buni-Yadi, Yobe State, reportedly left about 43 students dead.