KANO, Nigeria — Terrified students in northeast Nigeria have fled boarding schools after an attack by suspected Boko Haram extremists in which 43 students were shot and hacked to death and the whole school razed.
Students refused to stay overnight in their schools and colleges in the wake of the attack on the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Yobe state on Tuesday.
"Most students of boarding secondary schools have vacated their hostels and moved back to their homes after news of the Buni Yadi attack," said Yunusa Ahmed, who lives in the state capital Damaturu.
Ahmed's son is currently studying at the city's Government Secondary School but has now moved back home along with two classmates.
"They went to school today (Wednesday) but returned after classes ended because they are too afraid to sleep in the school for fear of a Boko Haram attack," Ahmed said.
Boko Haram, which translates roughly from Hausa as "Western education is sin," rejects a so-called Western curriculum and has burnt hundreds of schools in its four-and-a-half year fight to create an Islamic state in the north.
Last October Yobe state authorities said Boko Haram fighters burnt down 209 schools, causing damage worth an estimated $15.6 million (11.4 million euros).
The attacks are taking their toll on education in a region that already lags behind the rest of Nigeria in social and economic development.
President Goodluck Jonathan, in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday evening to mark upcoming celebrations for the centenary of Nigeria's unification, said the students were "callously murdered."
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply concerned about the increasing frequency and brutality of attacks against educational institutions," adding that "no objective can justify such violence."
A student at GSS Damaturu, who gave his name only as Mubarak, said students fled their dorms in fear of further attacks.
Last June seven students and a teacher were shot dead in the school when Boko Haram opened fire on a dormitory.— AFP