Gunmen believed to be part of Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group attacked a government boarding school in northern Nigeria July 6, killing an estimated 42 people, mostly students, witnesses said. The attack appears to be the latest assault in the Islamist group's self-declared war against Western values — a terrorist campaign that has destabilized the largely Muslim northern portion of the nation. Since the Nigerian military instituted a crackdown earlier this year on Boko Haram, the group — whose name translates roughly “Western education is sin” — has taken to targeting mostly defenseless schools throughout the north, particularly in Nigeria's Yobe state, where the latest incident occurred.
In the latest attack, AFP News quoted Haliru Aliyu, a spokesman for General Hospital in the city of Potiskum, as saying that the Islamist attackers entered the government boarding school early in the morning, rounded up sleeping staff and students into a dormitory building, and then threw in grenades and opened fire. “We received 42 dead bodies of students and other staff of Government Secondary School in Mamudo last night,” Aliuyu told AFP. “Some of them had gunshot wounds,” he added, but many were also burned, with reports that the attackers doused the building with fuel prior to the armed assault.
Boko Haram has claimed to be to blame for killing hundreds of students in attacks on schools in northern Nigeria in the past several months. According to news reports, on June 17 members of the terrorist group shot nine students dead as they were taking an exam in a private school in Maiduguri, considered one of the group's strongholds. The day before, gunmen fired on a secondary school in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, killing seven students and two teachers.
And on July 4, reported the Associated Press, Boko Haram gunmen went to the home of a primary school headmaster in a town 100 miles from Maiduguri, a city held by Boko Haram, and gunned down the man and his entire family.
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