Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Africa: Nigeria must protect students following university killings

Source: Amnesty

Authorities in Nigeria must take urgent measures to protect schools and students in the north-east of the country following a fresh attack by unknown gunmen that left dozens dead, Amnesty International said.

“Since 2012, we have seen an escalation of lethal attacks against students and schools. On top of the tragic loss of life children are being prevented from accessing education. It is high time for the authorities not only to investigate these deplorable incidents and take those responsible to justice but to take measures to prevent them,” said Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

The attack took place at around 1:00 am on Sunday when gunmen entered the compound of the College of Agriculture in Yobe state and opened fire on students.

Several individuals told Amnesty International the attackers ordered students to assemble and then opened fire on them.

One resident of Damaturu said that on Sunday they counted 62 bodies at the Sani Abacha General Hospital mortuary in Damaturu, Yobe state.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Islamist armed group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for attacks on schools, teachers and students in north-eastern Nigeria since 2012.

Between 21 February and 1 March 2012 alone, 10 primary schools were attacked in locations across Maiduguri, the state capital. In most attacks, the buildings were so badly damaged that they could no longer be used.

Since the beginning of 2013, attacks have appeared to have become more targeted and brutal. They frequently happen when schools are occupied, and teachers and pupils are now being directly targeted and killed.

“Boko Haram and any affiliated armed groups or individuals in northern Nigeria must immediately stop all attacks on schools, students, teachers and pupils. This is a deplorable and absolute disregard for the right to life and the right to education,” said Lucy Freeman.