Nigeria must protect students after university killings

The authorities in Nigeria must take urgent measures to protect schools and students in the north-east of the country following a fresh attack by unknown gunmen that left dozens dead, Amnesty International said today.

Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International, said:

“Since 2012, we have seen an escalation of lethal attacks against students and schools.

“On top of the tragic loss of life, Children's rights are being prevented from accessing education. It is high time that the authorities not only investigate these deplorable incidents and bring those responsible to justice, but also take measures to prevent them.”

The attack took place at around 1:00am on Sunday when gunmen entered the compound of the College of Agriculture in Gujba, Yobe State, and opened fire on students.

Several individuals told Amnesty the attackers ordered students to assemble and then opened fire on them.

The victims were transported to Sani Abacha General Hospital mortuary in Damaturu, 40 kms away. One resident of the town told Amnesty they had counted 62 bodies there.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Islamist armed group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for attacks on schools, teachers and students in north-eastern Nigeria since 2012.

Between 21 February and 1 March 2012 alone, 10 primary schools were attacked in locations across Maiduguri, the state capital. In most attacks, the buildings were so badly damaged that they could no longer be used.

Since the beginning of 2013, attacks appear to have become more targeted and brutal. They frequently happen when schools are occupied, and teachers and pupils are now being directly targeted and killed.

Lucy Freeman added:

“Boko Haram and any affiliated armed groups or individuals in northern Nigeria must immediately stop all attacks on schools, students, teachers and pupils. This is a deplorable and absolute disregard for the right to life and the right to education.”

On Friday 4 October, Amnesty International will publish a report with new insights on Boko Haram’s campaign of attacks on schools and students in north-eastern Nigeria.

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