Suicide bomber kills 50 at Nigeria school

Published November 11th, 2014 - 10:23 GMT

A terrorist attack on an all-boys school in northen Nigeria killed 48 students and teachers and injured 79 after a suicide bomber detonated during morning assembly.

The perpetrator was dressed in a school uniform, and entered the schoolyard in Potiskum, Yobe state, on Monday morning before carrying out the attack among the students.

Local police believe Boko Haram is responsible for the attack on the secondary school, which follows a 'western curriculum'. 

The massacre came just a day after the release of a new Boko Haram video in which the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, again rejected Nigerian government claims of a ceasefire and peace talks.

Students at the Government Comprehensive Senior Science Secondary School in Potiskum were waiting to hear the principal's daily address when the explosion happened, just before 8am.

'There was an explosion detonated by a suicide bomber,' national police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said, adding that Boko Haram was believed responsible. 

'So far, the number of the dead is 48, while 79 are injured. I counted the bodies, mostly students and a few teachers,' a nurse at Potiskum General Hospital said.

'A teacher who survived the blast with minor injury said the bomber dressed like a student and was also on the assembly ground with the students,' she said, asking to remain anonymous.

Adamu Alkassim said the scene was a mass of abandoned footwear, blood and flesh, as the victims were taken to the Potiskum General Hospital, just 330ft away. 

Mariam Ibrahim, a teacher at the Government Comprehensive Senior Science Secondary School said the bomb went off as she was arriving and students were at morning assembly.

Potiskum resident Aliyu Abubakar said he heard the explosion when he was dropping off his two sons at a nearby Islamic college. 'One of my sons fell down, I came out dragged him in and we drove off back home,' he said.

A second teacher, asking to remain anonymous, said, 'There are some (others) that are critically injured and I am sure the death toll will rise.'

One rescue worker involved in evacuating the students from the school said the wounded had 'various degrees of injuries'.

The victims are thought to be in their teens.

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.

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 Shia 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. 

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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