Boston Globe World reports that in Potiskum, Nigeria, Islamic militants attacked a boarding school before dawn on Saturday, dousing a dormitory in fuel and lighting it as students slept. At least 29 students and one teacher were killed in one of the deadliest attacks yet on a school. Muslim extremists in Nigeria have already been bombing churches and attacking schools, and now they are killing children.
Authorities assign responsibility for the attack on the extremist group Boko Haram, which has been behind a series of recent attacks on schools in the region. One was an armed assault on children taking exams in a classroom.
In the dormitory murders, one survivor reported that he suffered the loss four fingers on his right hand when he raised it in reflexive self-defense. The shooter moved on and his life was spared.
The school had a population of 1,200 students.
The gunmen arrived carrying jerry cans of fuel to set ablaze the school’s administrative block and one of the dormitories. Children were burned alive. Dozens of other children escaped into the bush but have not been located. Their parents don’t know if they survived or died. One parent, a farmer, found the bodies of two of his sons. One was shot in the back as he apparently tried to run away. He was 10 years old. His 12-year-old brother had been shot in the chest.
The attack resulted in the murder of 29 students and an English teacher, Mohammed Musa, who was shot in the chest.
At the morgue in the Potiskum General Hospital, anguished parents screamed as they attempted to identify the victims. Many were so charred they were unrecognizable.
Islamic militants from Boko Haram and related groups have killed more than 1,600 civilians in suicide bombings and other attacks since 2010, according to an Associated Press account.
Potiskum, in Yobe state, has a population of approximately 206,000 people.
President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency May 14th. He has deployed thousands of troops to halt the insurgency. Militants have taken control of some towns and villages. Boko Haram’s stronghold is 140 miles away, in Maiduguri city, the capital of the neighboring Borno state.
Now the Muslim extremists are venturing out to hunt down children.
Teachers and school administrators are also targets. Last Thursday, gunmen went to the home of Hassan Godiya, a headmaster at the private Godiya Nursery and Primary School in the town of Biu, about 110 miles from Maiduguri. He was gunned down at 7:00 a.m. as he was preparing to leave his home. His wife and their four children were also slaughtered.
People from Yobe state begged the military to restore cellphone service in the area while it is under a state of emergency. Residents had noticed suspicious movements of strangers and could have used their phones to alert soldiers and police to avert a June 16th attack on a school in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, in which seven students, two teachers, two soldiers, and two extremists were killed. Instead, the military was involved in a five-hour gun battle with the militants. Ultimately the militants fled.
This was followed a day later, by another attack in Maiduguri, in which extremists fired on the children as they were sitting at their desks, taking a writing exam. At least nine pupils died.
Boko Haram is the colloquial term for the “Congregation and People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad.” “Boko Haram” is a combination of the Hausa word Boko, “book,” or “Western learning,” and the Arabic word haram “forbidden.” (The New York Times)
Boko Haram is an Islamic jihadist militant terrorist organization that strongly opposes Westernization. It seeks to establish sharia law in the country. Sharia is both the moral code and religious law of Islam. It is considered the infallible law of God, above man-made law. Boko Haram has a history of assaulting Christians, bombing churches and attacking schools. (Human Rights Watch)
To Muslim extremists like Boko Haram, education means westernizing education. So children in Nigeria are being executed to prevent them from adopting western ways.
By: Tom Ukinski