Inhabitants of Yobe State in Northern Nigeria must be wondering what they have done wrong after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked a Government Secondary School in the state, killing 42 school children and some of their teachers in Mamudo town.
The attack marks the third time the suspected militants have targeted secondary schools and innocent school children, two of them in Yobe State. During last weekend’s pre-dawn attack, the insurgents burnt down buildings and shot students as they fled from the carnage.
The governor of the state, Ibrahim Gaidam, has now been forced to order the closure of all schools till next academic year which begins in September
Security experts now say Boko Haram militants who likely carried out all three attacks are now targeting “soft targets” following the military crackdown on their northern basis following the state of emergency ordered by President Goodluck Jonathan.
A fleeing witness told journalists in Damaturu, capital of Yobe State, that the suspected militants also wounded some students who are now in critical situation in hospital.
Thirteen injured students died later in hospital.
The attackers simultaneously burnt down parts of the school, got into the dormitories and staff quarters and shot at students and teachers while they slept.
A fleeing resident, Bala Mamudo told journalists: ”It is indeed very sad that I lost three of my brother’s children in the attack carried out by the unknown gunmen.
It is shocking that the Boko Haram terrorists could attack a public school, killing students and a teacher. It is sad and everybody is scared now.”
Telecommunication in Yobe State and other states affected by the state of emergency have remained grounded for over one month, a military strategy aimed at tracking down the dreaded militants. This is why Mamudo had to go to a neighbouring town where he could convey the sad news to his brother via telephone.
Massacre Horrendous – Presidency, National Assembly
President Goodluck Jonathan has described the killings as heartless, horrendous and unacceptable. He has, however, maintained that the Mamudo massacre would not stop his administration’s resolve to stop Boko Haram in its tracks.
The military Joint Task Force announced they killed 40 Boko Haram insurgents following the attack on the school and have intensified the hunt for the killers.
Similarly, Senate President David Mark has joined the presidency to condemn the killings and qualified them as terrible, and wicked.
He called for urgent measures to protect children, while setting up a committee to investigate the incident.
‘We’re winning war against Boko Haram’
Before the killing, Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Azubuike Ihejirika, like President Goodluck Jonathan, boosted that Nigeria had begun winning the war against terrorism.
Azubuike said the state of emergency declared by the federal government in the three troubled states in the North had helped to curb terrorism in the country, and promised that terrorism would soon be a thing of the past.
Thousands of civilians have been displaced following the army crackdown on the insurgents in Northern Nigeria