Area within the West African state of Nigeria where students were killed. The attacks have been blamed on Boko Haram., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Gunmen go on rampage, kill 48 students in Adamawa .
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 00:00
From Emmanuel Ande, Yola News
IT was callous disregard for human life yesterday when some heartless gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect killed no fewer than 48 students of three tertiary institutions in Mubi areas of Adamawa State. They also wounded more than 50 other persons.
The Guardian gathered that 26 of the killed students were from the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, Adamawa State University and the School of Health Technology, Mubi.
A top official of the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi who confirmed the killings in the school said the 26 students were attacked in their hostels outside the campus. He said private houses were hired by the school’s management for use by the students as hostels.
“Because of accommodation problem, the school decided to hire some private houses to serve as hostels for students. Those houses are only occupied by students of our school, it was those hostels that the gunmen attacked in the early hours of Tuesday,’’ the official stated.
There were several but similar accounts of how the cruelty was perpetrated.
It was learnt that a gang of gunmen numbering more than 50 invaded the different hostels and other residential houses, shooting sporadically, and while hundreds of the victims scampered for safety, they were hit by bullets, which killed them. At the Adamawa State University, The Guardian gathered that the gunmen invaded the campus from the rear and opened fire on the students in the hostels, killing several of them while running for their lives.
Also, a resident, who did not want his name mentioned, told the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Hausa service that men in military uniform went to a hall of residence away from the campus, just before midnight, got the students out of their rooms and ordered them to say their names. Some were then shot dead and others stabbed with knives, and their bodies left in lines outside the buildings.
He said it was not clear why some were killed and others spared - some of the dead were Moslems and others Christians. “Everybody is scared,” he said, adding that students had started leaving the town, many with tree branches over their cars - a traditional sign of neutrality in Nigeria.
Other Mubi residents said they heard gunfire for about two hours during the night and that those living near the hostels were also targeted.
The authorities have imposed an indefinite curfew in the town and ordered residents to stay indoors. The university has been temporarily closed.
Last week, the military carried out an operation in Mubi and arrested dozens of people over suspected links to Boko Haram.
Mubi is in Adamawa State, which has a mixed Muslim and Christian population and borders Borno State, where Boko Haram came to prominence in 2009, staging an uprising in the state capital, Maiduguri.
When the Commander of the 23 Amoured Brigade, Brig.-Gen. John Nwoaga, was contacted by The Guardian he said: “I am on my way to Mubi, with the Director of State Security Service (SSS) and the Commissioner of Police to find out what exactly happened. When I come back, I assure you, I will brief you on the matter.’’
Last week, the “Operation Restore Sanity” by members of the Joint Task Force (JTF), comprising military, police and the SSS, discovered a bomb factory belonging to suspected members of Boko Haram in Mubi-north where the security agents recovered eight AK47 riffles, locally made machine guns and many other arms and ammunition.
While answering questions from journalists at the site of the bomb factory in Mubi yesterday, Gen. Nwaoga said the breakthrough in discovering the bomb factory was a result of the 24-hour curfew the state government declared in Mubi due to the daily activities of gunmen in the area.
The top army officer alongside the Police Commissioner, Godfrey Okeke, and the state director of SSS, urged Governor Murtala Nyako to sustain the 24-hour curfew in the area to enable the JTF fish out those fomenting trouble.
According to Nwaoga, the Army will do everything possible to ensure that peace and order are maintained in the state and that the soldiers would not tolerate any act or action that threatens the lives of the residents.
The brigade commander who lamented withholding of information on the terrorists by members of the public, especially the village heads, whom he said, are closer to their subjects, appealed to the public to always inform security agents about suspicious people in their area. The House-to-House operation by the JTF in the area, he said, would continue until reasonable progress in search of the terrorists is recorded.
In the bomb factory, which was located after Shagari quarters in Mubi North Local Council, six bombs ready for use were found in one of the rooms of the three-bedroom apartment.
At the JTF camp in Mubi, 45 arrested suspects, including the six women and five children who were rescued during the first round of the operations, were kept under water-tight security.
The 24 hours curfew in Mubi was relaxed last week from 6.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. daily.