Nigeria: College ‘hit by suicide bombing’ in latest atrocity

Education International, November 12, 2014

EI has roundly condemned the latest atrocities perpetrated against students and teachers by Islamist extremists in northern Nigeria.

In a hard-hitting letter to the President of Nigeria, the EI General Secretary has demanded that the Nigerian Government assert its authority in the Northern regions and prevent any more attacks on students and teachers in education institutions.

Earlier today a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a college in north-central Nigeria, witnesses say. The bomb exploded as the woman was about to enter a hall packed with students at a college in Kontagora town. The bomb seemed to have exploded prematurely, as the bomber was still trying to gain entry into the lecture hall when it detonated.

Casualty numbers are unclear, but at least four bodies have been seen and many injured people were taken to hospital. Three of the four bodies were those of women.

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram has carried out a spate of bombings and assassinations in north-east and north-central Nigeria since launching its insurgency in 2009. Boko Haram is opposed to Western education, and believes that Muslim boys and girls should only receive an Islamic education. Boko Haram was also, of course, responsible for the abduction of 223 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno. Despite protests from all over the world the girls have still not been found.

Outrageous attacks against students, teachers and education institutions

There have been several bombings in northern Nigeria over the last two weeks – the worst of which was a suicide attack on a school in Yobe State on 10 November, which killed 48 teenage boys. Around 2,000 students – some as young as 11 – were waiting to hear the principal’s Monday morning address when the blast ripped through the crowd. Eyewitnesses spoke of horrific scenes as body parts were scattered all over the school compound. The mood then turned to anger, with soldiers who turned up to secure the area pelted with rocks by locals, who accused them of failing to protect the area against terrorist attack.

The bombing took place at the Government Technical Science College in the city of Potiskum, a town of 200,000 in north-east Nigeria’s Yobe state and a regular target of attacks by the Boko Haram. Only the previous week, a suicide bomb in the same city killed 30 people taking part in a religious procession of moderate Muslims.

A morgue attendant said 48 bodies were brought to the hospital and all appeared to be between the ages of 11 and 20 years old. Hospital workers said the scale of the injuries was so bad that some of the injured were likely to need amputations.

Survivors said the bomber appeared to have hidden the explosives in a type of rucksack popular with students. Nigeria’s military recently reported finding a bomb factory where explosives were being sewn into rucksacks in the northern city of Kano.