Yobe School Killings: 42 Dead in Nigeria as Schools Across the Nation Close Following Suspected Islamist Extremist Massacre (VIDEOS)
Jul 08, 2013 04:16 PM EDT
Yobe Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has ordered for all secondary schools in the state to be closed down starting today after 42 students and one teacher were shot to death or burned by a suspected Islamist extremist group in Saturday's attack on a Mamudo boarding school, BBC News reports.
So far, the Nigerian government has blamed Islamist militant group Boko Haram - translating roughly as "Western education is forbidden" - for targeting two schools in the northern region of Nigeria.
"The closure is to allow the state government in collaboration with the Joint Security Task Force and community leaders to evaluate and evolve better and additional strategies that would ensure the safety and security of students and their teachers," Abdullahi Bego, a spokesman for the governor's office, said in a recent statement. Gov. Gaidam called the attacks "callous and devoid of any shred of humanity," and explained that during the schools' hiatus, government officials and community leaders will work together to guarantee school safety when the schools re-open for the next academic term in September.
Gaidam also asked the government to lift a blocking of mobile phones across the state that had been enacted to stop Boko Haram group members from communicating, and ordered for free medical attention to those injured in the attack.
"Lack of [Global System for Mobile Communications] service has prevented patriotic citizens who have hitherto been collaborating with security agents from reporting suspicious movements in their neighborhoods," he said in a statement.
Eyewitnesses told BBC News that people were burned alive in the fires or gunned down as they tried to escape the massacre. The Associated Press found traumatized parents trying to identify their children among the dead in a nearby hospital in Potiskum.
Yobe is one of three states in Nigeria that President Goodluck Jonathan declared in a state of emergency in May, including as Borno and Adamawe, in response to growing Islamist extremist presence in the region. Thousands of troops were sent to the areas to protect civilians earlier this year.
In 2012, more than 600 people were believed to have been killed by Boko Haram during an attempted overthrowing of the government and creation of an Islamic state in Nigeria's predominately Muslim north. Western nations fear a link between Boko Harm and other Islamist extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a North African branch of the extremist group.
Accordin to The Independent, the European Union condemned the attacks yesterday, deeming them "a horrific murder by terrorists."
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