By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Nigeria’s embattled Christian president condemned on Wednesday, February 26, an overnight attack on a school in the country’s troubled north-east by suspected Islamist militants, in which as many as 40 students died.
Jonathan’s government “will not relent in its ongoing efforts to end the scourge of terrorism,” his spokesman Reuben Abati said in a statement to local media. Security forces will persist “until the dark cloud of mass murder and destruction of lives and property is permanently removed from our horizon.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the violence at the Federal Government College Buni-Yadi in Yobe State during the early hours of Tuesday, February 25.
Authorities believe the group Boko Haram, which means ‘Western education is sinful’, was behind the attack.
During the violence, the latest in a string of northeastern raids by the Boko Haram group that have killed about 250 people this year, gunmen mounted a four-hour assault, witnesses said.
Militants were seen killing some with machetes and shooting others. They subsequently set fire to buildings including hostels, the college administrative block and staff quarters, burning them to the ground with people inside.
Reports said the death toll may include members of staff, and some female students may have been abducted. Gunmen also reportedly set fire to other government and private establishments and destroyed telecommunication masts.
The latest attack have added to concerns among Christians in the region. Yobe is one of three northeastern states in Nigeria that have been under emergency rule since May last year, and the assault on the college is the fourth on an educational establishment in the state since the insurgency began, according to observers.
Boko Haram has been ordering Christians to leave the region, as part of its efforts to establish an independent state with strict Sharia, or Islamic, law.
The latest murders reportedly follow the release of a video purporting to show the Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau claiming responsibility for the killing in Zaria of Salafi cleric Sheikh Albani, who had been critical about the group.
He also threatened to target “those who pursue Western education.”
In the video Shekau reportedly also threatened former presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida, the Shehu of Borno and the Emir of Kano, and oil refineries in the Niger Delta.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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