The radical Islamists of Boko Haram appear to have killed 40 students asleep at a college in Yobe on Sunday. Is Nigeria’s get-tough approach working?
Abuja, Nigeria: Suspected members of the rebel sect Boko Haram stormed an agricultural college in Yobe, northeastern Nigeria, on Sunday, killing at least 40 in the latest of a string of attacks that have rocked northern Nigeria.
The surge in violence comes amid a four-month state of emergency covering three states in northeastern Nigeria, and after a spate of summer slaughters, including what appeared to be the gunning down of school children and of Muslims considered too religiously moderate, even as they prayed in their mosque.
Boko Haram has increasingly set its sights on civilian targets, prompting many Nigerians to question claims by the government and the military that they are winning the war against violent extremism.
Though exact numbers are hard to verify, Boko Haram and its affiliates are thought to have killed thousands since it first launched an Islamist insurgency in 2009.
Initially established a decade ago as a religious movement opposed to Western culture, Boko Haram has since morphed into a militant group determined to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.
The group rose to international prominence in 2010 and 2011 when it carried out a series of deadly attacks against the Nigerian government and detonated a car bomb after crashing into a United Nations building in Abuja, the capital.
The gunmen in Sunday’s attack are reported to have killed dozens of students as they slept and rounded up others for execution. Several more students were injured trying to flee.
The attacks also come as Nigeria – Africa’s most populous nation, top oil producer, and second largest economy – prepares to celebrate its 53rd year of independence amid concerns that Boko Haram is planning more attacks to coincide with the national holiday on Tuesday.
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