Islamic militants have staged another devastating attack on a boarding school in northern Nigeria, reports the Guardian. The attack was carried out by the extremist group Boko Haram whose name means “western education is sinful.”
The attack has left as many as 59 students dead with another 11 severely injured. It occurred in the early hours of Monday morning at the federal government college of Buni Yadi in Yobe State. Initial reports from the BBC had the death toll at 29.
"Fresh bodies have been brought in. More bodies were discovered in the bush after the students who had escaped with bullet wounds died from their injuries," said Bala Ajiya, an official at Special Hospital Damaturu in the nearby state capital.
The militants surrounded school buildings then set them on fire killing those who tried to flee. They "slaughtered them like sheep” with machetes, and gunned down others said one teacher, Adamu Garba, in a CBS News story.
"Some of the students' bodies were burned to ashes," police commissioner Sanusi Rufai said.
Only male students were killed in the attack. Militants went to the female dormitories and told the young women to go home, get married, and abandon their education.
The attack is the second carried out by Boko Haram on a school. In September the group killed 40 students at an agricultural school during a similar night raid. Attacks on schools, though, are a small part of the insurgent war Boko Haram has been waging in Nigeria.
The group controls a small hilly region near the Cameroon border and is seeking its own Islamic state. They have killed thousands of people since 2009, attacking villages and people they consider to be supporters of the current Nigerian government. Approximately 300 people have been killed this month alone.
Yobe state Governor Ibrahim Gaidam said there are not currently enough troops to defend people against the militants.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan responded to the killings by characterizing them as "heinous, brutal and mindless.” Jonathan has come under fire recently for an offensive, launched in May, that has been largely unsuccessful and some believe have triggered these new attacks that are viewed as reprisals.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the attacks as "unspeakable violence and acts of terror,” adding that the United States was helping local authorities "to combat the threat posed by Boko Haram, while protecting civilians and ensuring respect for human rights."