(Reuters) — Gunmen from Islamist group Boko Haram shot or burned to death 59 pupils in a boarding school in northeast Nigeria overnight, a hospital official and security forces said on Tuesday.
“Some of the students’ bodies were burned to ashes,” Police Commissioner Sanusi Rufai said of the attack on the Federal Government college of Buni Yadi, a secondary school in Yobe state, near the state’s capital city of Damaturu.
Bala Ajiya, an official at the Specialist Hospital Damaturu, told Reuters by phone the death toll had risen to 59.
“Fresh bodies have been brought in. More bodies were discovered in the bush after the students who had escaped with bullet wounds died from their injuries,” he said.
Rafai, who had given an earlier estimate of 29 killed, said all those killed were boys. He said the school’s 24 buildings, including staff quarters, were completely burned to the ground.
President Goodluck Jonathan called the attack “callous and senseless murder … by deranged terrorists and fanatics who have clearly lost all human morality and descended to bestiality”.
The Islamists, whose struggle for an Islamic state in northern Nigeria has killed thousands and made them the biggest threat to security in Africa’s top oil producer, are increasingly preying on the civilian population.