50 students gunned down by extremists in Nigeria college

Nigeria

Suspected Islamic extremists attacked an agricultural college in the dead of night, gunning down dozens of students as they slept in dormitories and torching classrooms, the school's provost said, reporting the latest violence in northeastern Nigeria's ongoing Islamic uprising.

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As many as 50 students may have been killed in the assault that began at about 1 am Sunday in rural Gujba, Provost Molima Idi Mato of Yobe State College of Agriculture, said. "They attacked our students while they were sleeping in their hostels, they opened fire at them,'' he said.

Provost Idi Mato confirmed the school's other 1,000 enrolled students have fled the college. He said he could not give an exact death toll as security forces still are recovering bodies of students mostly aged between 18 and 22.

He said there were no security forces stationed at the college despite government assurances that they would be deployed. The state commissioner for education, Mohammmed Lamin, called a news conference two weeks ago urging all schools to reopen and promising protection from soldiers and police.

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The Nigerian military has collected 42 bodies and transported 18 wounded students to Damaturu Specialist Hospital, 40 km north of Gujba, said a military intelligence official.

The extremists rode into the college in two double-cabin pickup all-terrain vehicles and on motorcycles, some dressed in Nigerian military camouflage uniforms, a surviving student, Ibrahim Mohammed, told the AP. He said they appeared to know the layout of the college, attacking the four male hostels but avoiding the one hostel reserved for women. "We ran into the bush, nobody is left in the school now,'' Mohammed said.

Almost all those killed were Muslims, said Adamu Usman, a survivor from Gujba who was helping the wounded at the hospital. Wailing relatives gathered outside the hospital morgue, where rescue workers laid out bloody bodies for identification.

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